Euthanasia is always included in the list of non-negotiable issues for a Catholic conscience, usually mentioned in the same breath as abortion. However, assisted suicide lacks nationwide statutory guidance, and until recently, few states had rules on the books permitting the practice. Thus while it always has been a line drawn in the culture war sand, that stance has not been tested for many of us Catholics.
Yet as the practice gains acceptance, it is our fellows Catholics who, again, check their own religious views at the door so as to not impede people from practicing theirs. Jerry Brown, former altar server and lifelong Catholic, signed the California euthanasia legislation when a veto would have stopped it in its tracks. And while the total number of people who participate in assisted suicide annually pales in comparison to the number of aborted children, there are two factors that should trouble anyone who considers how far this movement could spread.
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