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Statement from Bishop Deeley Regarding People’s Vetoes Against Physician-Assisted Suicide and Taxpayer-Funded Abortions

I am saddened to learn that despite great opposition in the public to physician-assisted suicide and taxpayer-funded abortion, these issues will not be sent to a statewide vote.

Physician-assisted suicide, which failed in a statewide vote in 2000, desensitizes our young people and society at large to the inherent value of human life at a time when suicide rates are the highest that they have been since World War II. Suicide should never be presented as an option, but only recognized for what it truly is, a tragedy.

In addition, every Maine taxpayer will now be forced to fund abortions, coercing people to act against their moral beliefs and ethical principles. Understandably, outrage has grown since citizens have learned the true nature of this law. Abortion is not health care, and this law deprives families and individuals of the simple right to respect the dignity of human life.

These laws hold tragic consequences for individual citizens as well as contribute to a further deterioration of the common good. That the voice of Maine voters, whether they live in the very heart of the state or near any of its borders, will not be heard in a statewide referendum on both issues makes this a sad day for people of good will.

Every believer can find solace in the truth that a change in civil law does not change the moral law, which calls us to uphold the dignity of every human life from conception to natural death. I encourage everyone to prayerfully educate themselves about authentically compassionate, end-of-life care by reading Three Beliefs, a guide for Maine Catholics that offers valuable counsel regarding end-of-life issues. The principles at the heart of the Church’s moral teaching on end-of-life decisions are important expressions of Christian reverence for the gift of the human person and are part of our well-founded hope for eternal life.

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose, so too will God, through Jesus, bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Thes 4:14)