NO ON PROPOSITION 106 (3rd Week)

NO ON PROPOSITION 106 (3rd week)


For the next couple of weeks I would like to print the words of our fellow parishioner, Dr. Michael Napierkowski, M.D. FACS talk that he gave a couple of weekends ago regarding Proposition 106.

Soon, we will once more be given the opportunity to vote, to make our voices heard regarding the future of our nation and our state and local communities. I urge you in the strongest possible terms, when that time comes, to oppose Proposition 106, the ballot measure which would legalize physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia in Colorado.

As a physician who has spent the last 26 years of my life learning and applying the knowledge and skills necessary to cure illness and to alleviate pain and distress and who treats patients with incurable cancer regularly, I implore you not to confound the notion of eliminating suffering with that of eliminating those who suffer. We must not allow the culture of death to be given a greater foothold in our state.


4. As government and other payers become increasing entangled in patients’ healthcare decisions, one can be certain that not only will the introduction of euthanasia or PAS encourage those holding the purse strings to withhold more expensive treatment options, especially in “hopeless cases,” but also that research funds for such conditions will ultimately be diverted to “more practical” concerns and more common illnesses. Finally, all hope will be lost for those who now dream of a day that a cure will be found against all odds.

5. Physicians will certainly eventually be compelled to participate in the administration of death, as we have seen in Canada, where the Supreme Court there has created a positive right for death so insurmountable that medical professionals cannot refuse to participate, in act or at least in referral for those who wish to die based on subjective criteria of suffering. This not only represents an evisceration of the vows of those who promised to heal and never to harm in taking the Hippocratic Oath, but also constitutes a destruction of simple principles of autonomy, upon which all rights properly understood are founded.

Arguments in favor of this ballot measure are simple, but ultimately deceptive, asking us to apply a misguided sense of mercy to allow doctors to kill patients who are suffering as the result of a terminal diagnosis. But I fear that this mentality is fueled in large measure by a creeping fear and unstated selfishness: caring for the sick and dying demands courage and self-sacrifice, as well as a willingness to confront our own mortality. But this difficult and sometimes fearful moral responsibility is the source of immense beauty and spiritual insight.

It is not just our obligation to care for the ailing, but our great privilege and blessing. Let us never see it any other way. To be rid of the suffering is to be rid of a pathway to our own sanctification. Conversely, their presence in our lives, allows us to sacrifice personally for their wellbeing, shaping souls with an immense capacity for love and true mercy, as St. Mother Teresa of Calcultta exemplified so well. Let her be our example to all of us as we reject this attempt of the culture of death to redefine our understanding of compassion.

Thank you Dr. Napierkowski for your words and thoughts!