A bill making its way through the New Mexico legislature is being called the “worst in the nation” by Catholic leadership. Archbishop John Wester warned that it could encourage those who are seriously ill or disabled to commit suicide, and deemed it especially troubling considering the state’s exceedingly liberal abortion laws.
HB 47, or the Elizabeth Whitefield End-Of-Life Options Act, has passed the state House of Representatives and is currently making its way through state Senate committees. According to the Catholic News Agency, “The bill allows licensed physicians, licensed osteopathic physicians, licensed nurses, and licensed physician assistants to prescribe a lethal drug to people with a terminal illness and the ability to self-administer the drug. In a statement to CNA, Archbishop Wester strongly condemned the legislation.
“This assisted suicide bill is set to be the worst in the nation, making it a requirement that all patients in hospice care be offered assisted suicide as an option,” he said. “This as we struggle to dissuade our young people from taking their lives when they are struggling with depression and despondency.”
Though the bill requires a mental evaluation first to determine that a person has the capacity to properly consent, those with mental health disorders or intellectual disabilities can still qualify and are only required to have further evaluation. Disturbingly, those with conscientious objections must refer their suicidal patients to medical professionals who are willing to kill them.
A similar law was put into place with a recent abortion bill, which essentially eliminated conscience protections and cemented abortion’s legality in the state until birth. With these extreme laws on abortion and assisted suicide together, it’s clear that New Mexico is one of the worst states in the nation for vulnerable human beings.
“With these bills, I wonder, what have we become?” Wester asked. “Though we are saddened by the repeal of abortion restrictions and the possible legalization of assisted suicide, we do not lose hope. We continue work to promote just laws, but know that God’s law transcends any human laws. God’s law calls us all to recognize and protect the life and dignity of each and every human being, especially the most vulnerable. This includes unborn children and those at the end of life. We are promised that God’s law will ultimately bring peace and new life, especially to those who are suffering.”
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