MN Muslims and Catholics Join Forces to Fight Assisted Suicide

Minnesota Anti-Assisted Suicide Coalition Launches

The MN Alliance for Ethical Healthcare launched last week in opposition to the potential legalization of assisted suicide in Minnesota.

The coalition currently includes more than 30 partner organizations from a variety of backgrounds. Several Catholic organizations are included in the list, as well as the Islamic Center of Minnesota, both Minnesota districts of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, as well as Democrats for Life.

An assisted suicide bill called the Compassionate Care Act made it to the Minnesota legislature in March.

“This dangerous, unjust practice undermines the patient-caregiver relationship, exposes the vulnerable to harm, and deflects efforts to improve the quality and accessibility of healthcare at the end of life,” said Dr. Steve Bergeson, a family physician practicing in Shoreview, MN, said in a press release, “We can’t advance real care if we’re hastening death.”

Bergeson and more than 60 other medical professionals have joined the Alliance as individual members opposed to legalizing assisted suicide. The goal of the Alliance is to advance “real care through advocacy and education.”

“Assisted suicide deprives those near the end of life of the medical and personal attention they need and deserve. It is not real compassion,” Virginia Flo, state director of Lutherans for Life, said in the press release.

The Alliance is also concerned that assisted suicide will be used as a rationale to end the lives of people of people with disabilities. The concern is that these people with additional needs compared to their able bodied peers would have less dignity with the advent of assisted suicide.

Neil Helgeson is the president of The Arc Minnesota, an organization dedicated to public policy advocacy for disabled persons in Minnesota.

“Legalizing assisted suicide would be a serious blow to people with disabilities and all who are already impacted by disparities in healthcare,” Helgeson said in the press release, “We need to be closing gaps in healthcare, not widening them.”

The Alliance’s first step was organizing a petition urging the Minnesota Medical Association to maintain its long-standing opposition assisted suicide. Other 500 medical professionals signed the petition which launched in late September.

Anders Koskinen