Top European leader blasts Pope for telling Catholic hospitals not to euthanize patients

Lifesite News

Lisa Bourne

BRUSSELS, Belgium, August 16, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – The former European Council president took a shot at papal authority on social media last weekend, inferring that Pope Francis should not have input on whether a Belgian Catholic religious order allows its hospitals to euthanize patients.

“The time of ‘Roma locuta causa finita’ has long been over,” Herman Van Rompuy tweeted in Dutch on Sunday.

The phrase ‘Roma locuta causa finite,’ is Latin for “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.” It originates from an early fifth-century statement by St. Augustine and references the ultimate authority held by the pope.

The tweet was in reply to canon law professor Kurt Marten’s tweet publishing the list of trustees for the Belgian Brothers of Charity, showing Van Rompuy serves on the Board. . . . [Full Text]

 

Dying with Dignity may challenge Ontario law exempting religious hospitals from offering assisted death

At least 631 people have chosen a medically assisted death since it became legal, coroner tells CBC News

CBC News

Laura Fraser

While more than 630 Ontarians to date have legally ended their lives with the help of a nurse or doctor, none have been able to do so within the walls of a hospital that has historic ties to the Catholic Church.

But advocates for medically assisted dying argue that since these are public-funded health-care centres, they are bound to offer the option — even though Ontario law currently exempts any person or institution that objects.

It’s legislation that Dying With Dignity Canada may challenge in court, according to the group’s CEO. . . [Full text]

 

California Hospital Sued for Refusing to Assist in Suicide

National Review

Wesley J. Smith

This lawsuit is a little before its time.

Should assisted suicide become widely accepted in this country, activists will try to force all doctors to participate–either by doing the deed or referring to a doctor known to be willing to lethally prescribe.

But it isn’t yet, and so the pretense of the movement that they only want an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy change in mores and law continues as SOP.

But sometimes they show their true intentions. Thus, when UCSF oncologists refused to assist a cancer patient’s suicide, the woman died of her disease. Now, her family is suing–using the same attorney (Kathryn Tucker) who tried (unsuccessfully) to obtain an assisted suicide Roe v Wade in 1997 and has brought other pro-assisted sucide cases around the country. . . [Full text]

California’s assisted-dying loophole: Some doctors won’t help patients die

San Francisco Chronicle

Bob Egelko

Judy Dale died of cancer in her San Francisco home in September, in agony, after being denied the pain-relieving medication she might have received under the state’s aid-in-dying law that had taken effect three months earlier.

A lawsuit by her children will determine whether UCSF Medical Center, where Dale first went for treatment, was responsible for her suffering by allegedly concealing its oncologists’ decision not to provide life-ending drugs to patients who ask for them. More broadly, their suit illuminates the inner workings of a law that confers new rights on terminally ill patients, but few obligations on their health care providers.

The law allows a medically competent adult who has six months or less to live to ask a doctor to prescribe lethal medication. The patient, not the doctor, must be the one to administer the drug. Two doctors must agree on the terminal diagnosis, and the patient must make two requests, at least 15 days apart, before receiving the medication.

But doctors and hospitals are not required to take part in the process or to refer the patient to someone who will grant the request. Hospitals can prohibit their physicians from prescribing life-ending medication, something that medical centers affiliated with the Catholic Church and some secular hospitals have done. And a doctor who has decided not to prescribe the drugs is not required to disclose that fact until the patient asks for them. . . [Full text]

 

Pope orders religious order to stop offering euthanasia in its hospitals

Aleteia

Vatican Radio

A religious congregation is being ordered by the pope to stop offering euthanasia in the hospitals it sponsors.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis has ordered the Belgian arm of the Brothers of Charity to stop allowing the euthanizing of patients in its psychiatric hospitals. .

Pope Francis also ordered Brothers of Charity who serve on the group’s board to sign a joint letter to their Superior General declaring that they “fully support the vision of the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which has always confirmed that human life must be respected and protected in absolute terms, from the moment of conception till its natural end.” . . .[Full text]

New Zealand Attorney General apparently confused on issue of referral for euthanasia

Sean Murphy*

Chris Finlayson, the Attorney General of New Zealand, has issued a report on a euthanasia bill that has been introduced by Member of Parliament David Seymour, the leader and only sitting member of ACT New Zealand.

This bill includes protection of conscience provisions that were considered by Mr. Finlayson in his report (paragraphs 62-65).  The Attorney General stated that the provisions require an objecting medical practitioner to refer a patient to another physician for euthanasia, and acknowledged that this infringed freedom of conscience guaranteed by New Zealand’s Bill of Rights.  However, he believed this to be consistent with the Bill of Rights:

I consider that the limit is justified for the effective functioning of the regime for assisted dying created by the Bill.  In particular, I consider that the requirement to identify another medical practitioner is necessary to meet the objective of the Bill and is the most minimal impairment of the right possible.(para. 64)

The Attorney General appears to be confused on this point.

In fact, Section 7(2) of the bill requires only that the patient be told that he may contact the “SCENZ Group” (euthanasia coordination/facilitation service) to obtain the name of a euthanasia practitioner or physician willing to assist in the process.  It is up to the patient to initiate contact with the SCENZ Group, and the bill does not require a physician to assist the patient to do so.  This does not amount to referral to a euthanasia practitioner.

The distinction is important because physicians who object to euthanasia for reasons of conscience often refuse to refer patients for the procedure on the grounds that doing so would make them parties to homicide.  This issue is the focus of an important constitutional challenge in Canada, where the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is attempting to compel unwilling physicians to make effective referrals for euthanasia and assisted suicide.

llinois Judge Suspends Abortion Notification Law

Measure forces pregnancy centers to promote abortion

Church Militant

Stephen Wynne

ROCKFORD, Ill. (ChurchMilitant.com) – In a setback for mandatory abortion referral laws, a federal judge is halting implementation of an Illinois notification measure.

U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Kapala has temporarily suspended enforcement of SB1564, a measure that compels pro-life pregnancy care centers and doctors to publicize abortion to their clients. In his ruling, Kapala warned that SB1564, an amendment to the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act, may threaten religious liberty and free speech rights.

SB1564 went into effect January 1. In response, the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates joined with 18 Illinois pregnancy care centers to challenge it in court. . . [Full text]