While the pro-life cause has had many reasons to celebrate in recent months, two new controversial bills being considered by the Hawaii state legislature should serve as a warning for how much life is still under threat across the country.
The first bill in question, legislation which would legalize physician-assisted suicide, passed overwhelmingly in Hawaii’s state Senate last week and will now move to the state House of Representatives. Specifically, the bill would allow terminally ill patients who are determined to have 6 months or less to live, to request a lethal dose of medication.
The Catholic Church is among those groups which have been vocal in opposition to legalized euthanasia. The Bishop of Honolulu stated, “It costs a tremendous amount of time and money to care for someone who is very sick. Yet true compassion means ‘suffering with’ someone — or allowing others to suffer with us — and while it is very humbling, the most intimate bonds of human caring can be nurtured in just such circumstances.” He also pointed out that legalization of assisted suicide would open the door to a “culture of euthanasia” and abuse of the elderly, as terminally ill patients, some of whom actually recover to health, may be manipulated into ending their lives rather than paying for expensive medical treatment and burdening their families.
If this were not bad enough, a second bill passed by the Hawaii state Senate would force pro-life centers to do abortion referrals — a momentous violation of religious liberty and freedom of conscience which would likely force the closure of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers in the state. This would be a huge disservice to low-income women, who rely on pregnancy centers for counseling, ultrasounds, maternity care, housing, adoption assistance, and supplies these centers provide. Unsurprisingly, Planned Parenthood, which has claimed it has a First Amendment right to taxpayer funds in Ohio and Utah, is in support of the Hawaii measure, despite the negative impact the bill would have on the First Amendment rights of pro-life groups.
Combined, both these measures are extremely dangerous in their promotion of a culture of death and belittling the sanctity and value of human life, as well as in their violation of basic freedom of conscience principles. Hawaii’s potential passage of these two bills serves as a threat not only to people within the state, but also those across America whose states may follow Hawaii’s example.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0