CMA Doctors Warn of New Pro-Suicide Bias in
U.S. Law and Policy
The Christian Medical Association,
the nation's largest faith-based organization of physicians, today
warned of the potential for pro-suicide ideology to seep into law and
government policy. The organization pointed to pro-suicide influence in
a controversial Veterans Administration (VA) manual and a section of
the main House healthcare overhaul bill.
The VA manual, entitled, "Your Life, Your Choices: Planning for Future
Medical Decisions," was co-authored by Dr. Robert Pearlman, who
unsuccessfully pleaded for a constitutional right to assisted suicide
in a 1996 Supreme Court case. [i]
The VA manual lists scenarios such as being in a wheelchair, needing
kidney dialysis, or requiring a feeding tube and then asks the patient
to consider whether those situations might make his or her life "Not
Dr. Gene Rudd, Senior Vice President of the 16,000-member Christian
Medical Association, said, "As physicians, we recognize the value of
advance planning and counseling and appointing a personal healthcare
proxy. The VA manual goes a step further, however, subtly raising with
vulnerable patients the possibility that physical impairments might
make their lives, in the words of the manual, "not worth living."
"And now we learn that the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion &
Choices claims [ii]
to have worked with Congressional leaders to secure the end-of-life
section of the healthcare overhaul bill, HR 3200. Section 1233 of that
bill calls for government funds to pay healthcare professionals to give
patients 'an explanation of orders regarding life sustaining treatment
or similar orders, which shall include-- the reasons why the
development of such an order is beneficial to the individual and the
"Imagine that you're depressed. You found out last week you have
cancer. You were told that with treatment you have a 50/50 chance of
beating it. No one knows how sad you are; no one has asked.
"But now the end-of-life counselor suggests you should consider this:
Your disease and treatment may be a burden on your family. The cost of
treatment will be significant. You may accept treatment, or decline
treatment and opt for comfort care. Imagine the impact of those
suggestions on a vulnerable patient."
"Such counseling may serve the government's purposes in a bill
explicitly designed to 'reduce the growth in health care spending.' But
it does not serve the patient's best interest.
"A physician must remain an impartial advocate for the patient--not for
the government. Paying physicians and others to counsel patients
regarding the end of life when the government will be paying for that
patient's end of life care creates a conflict of interest. Patients
need to know they can trust us to give independent counsel--not
of Amicus Curiae Bioethicists Supporting Respondents, Vacco v. Quill.,
SCOTUS case decided June 26, 1997.
Distort Health Care Debate"
Related links: (CMA) (VA
Contact: Margie Shealy
Christian Medical Association
Date: August 26, 2009
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Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state
coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of
Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our
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persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic
backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has
been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the
human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that
every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is
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