I’ve been saying for a few years now that the Catholic Church’s assault on end of life rights was coming, that it would incorporate the same strategies that were used to mobilize “pro-life” groups in the erosion of reproductive rights, that it would make use of lessons learned since Roe v Wade, that it would engage direct aid in dying laws as well as ancillary laws regarding patients’ rights, that it would take journalists a while to catch on, wary as they are of meaningful discussions about death, and that it would be a new primary issue on the “pro-life” platform.
My engaging and long conversation with Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, two nights ago confirmed that while the church issues “teaching statements” against aid in dying, elevating it to the top item on it’s Spring General Assembly agenda, a vast and well-funded network of activists across the nation will act on that statement in new and damaging ways.
In my recent piece at The Nation, I challenge journalists, left and right, to pay attention. We’re not just talking about the legalization of aid in dying anymore. We’re talking about an entire spectrum of end of life care, laws, and services that will be jeopardized by such activism, just as we enter a new phase in the health care crisis.