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Letter: Sanctity of life under attack

Normally, I enjoy James Manahan's facts and opinions on legal issues. However, I must strongly disagree with his recent column ("Terminally ill deserve compassion, choices," March 2 News-Chronicle) advocating that people should be able to end their lives with the help of their doctor. In other words: euthanasia.

He states that in a poll that 71 percent of Minnesota Catholics agree with him. What he fails to mention is official Catholic teaching — not based on polls — "proclaims that human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society." And I believe the church teaches this with good reason.

The sanctity of human life is under attack in our society from all sides: abortion, pornography, racism, an escalating arms race and efforts to legalize capital punishment and euthanasia. All have powerful negative consequences on respect for life in our state of Minnesota. The sacredness of human life must be defended.

My daughter-in-law died at age 33 after fighting off brain cancer with surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy, accepting the cross she was asked to carry. My mother died at age 88 after years of fighting off diabetes, heart problems and asking God why he didn't call her home sooner.

They never asked to bail out, they knew that life was a gift to be respected. They never tried to play God. They did not use extraordinary means to prolong their life. Their families and the medical profession kept them comfortable and peaceful as they died, and their faith kept them spiritually strong.

I do acknowledge that pain and suffering are often present at the end of life, and yes, it was hard to watch family members slowly succumb. But it was easy to celebrate their faithful lives well-lived.

To those who say, "Don't push your beliefs on me," I would respectfully ask to consider that your life is as precious as mine, and not because of anything we have done. It is a gift we have received and share, and I believe must be held sacred.

I would ask our legislators to oppose any bill that opposes the dignity of human life.


Gerry Bahar

Silver Bay