CV NEWS FEED // As legislation to legalize assisted suicide in Virginia quickly advances to floor debates in both the state House and Senate, bishops from the dioceses of Arlington and Richmond are calling on Catholics to protest the bills.
“At this critical moment, we implore the faithful across our two dioceses: Please contact your state Senator and Delegate. Urge them to reject assisted suicide legislation,” Bishops Michael Burbidge and Barry Knestout wrote in a February 5 statement.
The bishops also provided a link to the Virginia Catholic Conference Action Center website, which leads to a prefilled form opposing assisted suicide for Catholics to send to their state senators.
The bills in question are expected to be up for debate in both Virginia’s House and Senate within the next week. In both bills, Democratic lawmakers are requesting an amendment to a section of the Code of Virginia, which states that “Any person who knowingly and intentionally, with the purpose of assisting another person to commit or attempt to commit suicide… shall be liable for damages as provided in this section and may be enjoined from such acts.”
The current Code also states that “A licensed health care provider who assists or attempts to assist a suicide shall be considered to have engaged in unprofessional conduct for which his certificate or license to provide health care services in the Commonwealth shall be suspended or revoked by the licensing authority.”
Instead, the lawmakers wish to allow any Virginian over the age of 18 with a terminal disease to take a “controlled substance prescribed to the patient for the purpose of ending his life.”
Burbidge and Knestout wrote that assisted suicide only “facilitates tragedies.”
“Legalizing it would place the lives of people with disabilities, people with mental illnesses, the elderly, and those unable to afford healthcare – among others – at heightened risk of deadly harm,” the bishops stated.
People facing the end of life are in great need, and must be accompanied with great care and attentiveness. To address each of their needs and alleviate their suffering, patients deserve high quality medical, palliative, and hospice care – not suicide drugs.
Please tell the members of the Virginia General Assembly who represent you not to bring assisted suicide to our Commonwealth.