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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

New Jersey’s suicide law called ‘utter failure’ of government, society

New Jersey’s new law allowing assisted suicide, effective as of 1st August, points to an ‘utter failure’ on the part of government and indeed all society, a US bishop has said.

It is the failure ‘to care truly, authentically and humanely for the suffering and vulnerable in our midst especially those living with an incurable disease as well as the frail elderly, the infirm and those living with disabilities,’ the Bishop of Metuchen, James F. Checchio, wrote in a letter, dated 29th July, to the 650,000 Catholics in his four-county diocese.

‘Assisted suicide is a grievous affront to the dignity of human life and can never be morally justified,’ he said. ‘The legal permission now granted to this practice does not change the moral law.’

Bishop Checchio said that under the new law – called the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act – the elderly ‘could feel undue pressure to view this as an option to prevent being a burden to others and young people will begin to think that people can and should be disposable’.

‘Indeed,’ he added, ‘with this law there will be a further desensitisation of the value of human life.’

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, a Catholic, signed the assisted suicide bill into law on 12th April.

It passed the Assembly 41-33 and the Senate 21-16 on 25th March. As the measure awaited Murphy’s signature, pro-life groups and other opponents urged state residents to contact the governor and ask him not to sign the bill into law.

Picture: The Bishop of Metuchen, James F. Checchio. (CNS photo/Michael Ehrmann, The Catholic Spirit).