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It’s “Respect Life Month.” How are you protecting the most vulnerable?

by | Oct 8, 2020

By Heather Weininger, Executive Director, Wisconsin Right to Life

Did you know that October is “Respect Life Month”? I hope that you’ll follow along with me this month as I reflect on our Wisconsin Right to Life mission statement and the principles that we follow every day to bring respect and dignity to every person, born and unborn.

Wisconsin Right to Life believes that each human life is inherently valuable from fertilization to natural death. Our mission is: “To make euthanasia, infanticide, abortion and destruction of human embryos socially, ethically, and legally unacceptable solutions to human problems and to promote positive alternatives to each of these acts.”

Typically, when someone hears the term “pro-life,” they assume that we only care about abortion-related issues, but being pro-life encompasses so much more than that. Being pro-life means unconditionally supporting life at ALL stages – from conception until natural death. 

Which is why we include the act of euthanasia in our mission statement. Terminal illness, disability, and death are not easy topics to talk about. 

Many of the same principles that drive our abortion opposition can be used to navigate end-of-life decisions. First and foremost, we believe that every life has value. As Americans, we believe that everyone has an equal and inalienable, not conditional, right to life. Many people who express interest in physician-assisted suicide do so because they believe they will become a burden to their loved ones if they continue living. When we, as a society, endorse euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, we are teaching the frail, the weak, and the dependent populations that they have a DUTY to die so as not to be a “burden.” 

Second, we believe that our human dignity is not defined by what we do, but by what we are. It is grounded not in our accomplishments, but in our human existence. Our society is working hard to dismantle discrimination in its many forms – gender discrimination, race discrimination, and disability discrimination – yet we still find it acceptable to allow someone to end their life when they are no longer providing a physical contribution. This double standard is unproductive and devalues human life. 

Finally, we believe that death is never a cure. Our basic human intuition is to celebrate life and mourn death. Death cannot be a solution if our very instincts grieve it. 

Legislatively, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia are certainly not new topics, but the discussion has been rapidly changing here in the US. Over the last 30 years, the practices have become more normalized and accepted as humane. Eight states, plus Washington, D.C., have passed laws to legalize physician-assisted suicide in the last decade, and new legislation is constantly being brought to the floor. 

Here in Wisconsin, we have had “Death with Dignity” bills drafted and introduced 11 times in the last 23 years. Wisconsin Right to Life regularly partners with groups like the Wisconsin Coalition Against Assisted Suicide and the Patients Rights Action Fund to ensure that patients and their families receive the advocacy they need to make dignity-respecting decisions at the end of life.

By following these simple pro-life principles and recognizing the legislative importance of this issue, you can join us in the fight against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Our website is full of practical resources to help you support the vulnerable people around you. At the core of the euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide movement is the notion that there is such a thing as a life not worthy to be lived. We reject that belief and fight to defend all life – from conception until natural death.

For Life.

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