WASHINGTON (November 8, 2000) -- The Executive Director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities called the defeat in Maine of a proposal to legalize physician-assisted suicide "an encouraging sign for efforts to respect the life and dignity of vulnerable people."
This is the text of the statement by Gail Quinn:
"Yesterday's defeat of the nation's newest proposal for legalizing physician-assisted suicide is an encouraging sign for efforts to respect the life and dignity of vulnerable people.
"The national euthanasia movement targeted the state of Maine as its current beachhead, and devoted substantial resources to the legalization effort. Yet the assisted suicide proposal on Maine's November ballot was soundly defeated. I congratulate the Catholic Diocese of Portland for its fine work in cooperating with state medical, hospice and disability rights organizations to tell voters about the dangers of this misguided proposal.
"When Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide in 1994, some said this agenda would sweep the nation. Instead, ten states have passed new laws against this deadly practice since 1994, and legalization measures have been rejected across the nation – most notably by direct votes of the people in Michigan and Maine.
"Our nation should take this opportunity to turn away once and for all from this dangerous and demeaning approach to the problems faced by terminally ill patients. We must learn to work together to address dying patients' real needs – needs for better pain management, improved training of health professionals in palliative care, and a renewed dedication to the goals of the hospice movement. In its final days, this Congress can make an excellent start on this agenda by enacting the federal Pain Relief Promotion Act now pending in the U.S. Senate."