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Witness For Life and Changes to the PAS Bill

Public testimony provided by Kris Correira, PA-C addressed an issue changed in the legislation filed in 2019. It eliminated the attack on religious freedom.

In both 2017 and 2018, I publicly testified before the legislature regarding the dangers of the assisted suicide bill. In particular, I alone focused on the attack on religious freedom not part of any other PAS legislation. Those of you hearing me speak at the Fatal Flaws showing talk about this point.

In both bills, the problem comes in Section 15. The problematic wording is as follows:

15(4)(a) Health care providers shall maintain and disclose to consumers upon request their written policies outlining the extent to which they refuse to participate in providing to a qualified patient any medication pursuant to this act.

(b) The required consumer disclosure shall at minimum:

(vi) inform consumers that the cost of such transfer will be borne by the transferring provider; [emphasis added]

In my 2017 testimony, I wrote:

The Act states that a health care provider like myself, “is not under duty…to participate in providing a qualified patient with the medication.” But then it goes on to mandates that I provide patients with a referral specifically to someone who is willing to participate, and even to pay for the transfer.  So, if I am not willing to kill my patients then I must pay to send them to someone who will?  I will not do this, nor will any Catholic hospital.  Again, I ask you, is it your intention to shut down all the Catholic hospitals, and to drive out all the Catholic health care providers, putting thousands of vulnerable patients at risk, for a handful of people who demand that doctors must help them kill themselves?

From 2017 to 2018, the bill changed by adding in a 15 day waiting period, but the language restricting religious freedom remained. In my 2018 testimony, besides discussing other problems with the bill, I reiterated:

H 1991 forces us to act directly against our consciences by mandating that we refer patients to those who will assist in their suicides. It makes us pay even more by forcing us to incur the cost to transfer patients to another provider.

Now, this year’s bill eliminates the mandate to cooperate with evil. It now reads:

(vi) inform consumers that the cost of transferring records will be borne by the transferring provider [emphasis added]

Prescribed suicide is wrong for many reason even without the restrictions on religious freedom. We are not free to do whatever we want with our bodies as if we created them ourselves. With every body there is a soul together made by God for God whether we believe it or not. We have a duty to one another to regard the inherent dignity of every human life, and that includes prohibiting the intentional hastening of anyone’s death.

Autonomy, Except for Religious Reasons

In Australia, a judge has ordered that a pregnant teenage who is a Jehovah’s Witness receive a blood transfusion should she need one when being induced to deliver her baby.

Why? “The court heard from experts who said that while the teenager had been very clear and consistent in her wishes she was influenced by a willingness to please her family and the community she was dependent on.” One expert testified that, “the girl could have been trying to seek approval from those around her after committing the ‘transgression’ of falling pregnant out of wedlock.”

Refusing a transfusion, as a medical expert testified, risked only the mother’s health, not the baby’s. She said that to receive a blood transfusion would be as psychologically distressful as someone raping her or committing some other act of violence to her.

Refusing treatment is an established right.  What if she refused a treatment for a reason other than her religious belief? No judge would be involved.

How about abortion? How many abortions are done to hide a “dumb mistake?” With Oprah and the rest of the culture “shouting” their abortions, how many teens are looking to please friends saying she would be stupid not to have an abortion? And then there are the boyfriends and parents demanding teens dependent on them get abortions. No judge would be involved for any pregnant woman wanting to kill her child.

But opposing abortion is labeled as a religious issue. Remember mindless slogans like, “Get your rosaries off my ovaries?”

How about assisted suicide? Patients with serious illness become increasingly dependent on their medical teams and families as caregivers, far more so than a pregnant teenager.  No judge would be involved for any sick person wanting to kill themselves.

But opposing “aid in dying” is labeled a religious issue.

This tactic has been used ever since the eugenics movement began 100 years ago that morphed into Planned Parenthood and The Hemlock Society in the 1960’s. Their quest for “autonomy” has always meant being free from whatever the Church has taught to be fundamentally wrong.

Some day, the Culture of Death will realize the Church teaches those things because God knows what will lead us all to thrive as human beings living in society, caring for one another.

John Adams and the Little Sisters of the Poor

As part of his conclusion of his legal defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre, John Adams said, “The law, in all vicissitudes of government, fluctuations of the passions, or flights of enthusiasm, will preserve a steady undeviating course; it will not bend to the uncertain wishes, imaginations, and wanton tempers of men.”

We want justice to be blind; we do not want legal arguments to be an acceptable defense for some yet an invalid one for others.  We find courage in those willing to stand up for a principle even when it applies to those we may not like, or, like Thomas More, when it means great personal sacrifice.

Today, however, is an era of justice for the favored—to the point of absurdity—on display in the daily news. The Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious employers are being made to comply with the HHS Mandate while companies like Visa and Exxon Mobile are given exemptions.  Apple CEO Tim Cook takes public stands against religious freedom laws that would protect cake designers, photographers, and florists from being forced to create art in violation of their beliefs and yet Apple argues that the government mandating it to create computer code to bypass iPhone security is “compelled speech” violating the First Amendment.

Sadder still is not cowardice in the face of risk, which is all too human, but rather when self-interest is held up as being courageous.   Notre Dame will present the Laetare Medal jointly to Vice President Joe Biden and former Speaker of the House John Boehner. Notre Dame president  Father John Jenkins defends the controversial decision by saying, “It is a good time to remind ourselves what lives dedicated to genuine public service in politics look like.”  Never mind that the award was established to honor a Catholic who “illustrated the ideals of the Church,” ideals that Biden has long actively opposed.

And this from a university that gave into the HHS mandate.  As William McGurn wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Principles are a fine thing—just don’t let them get in the way of a comfortable place in society.”

Years after the Boston Massacre trial, John Adams wrote, “The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.”

Who has been manly in what has procured anxiety? The Little Sisters of the Poor.

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