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NY’s progressive politicians prepare the battlefield for assisted suicide

The “aid-in-dying” advocacy group Compassion & Choices is expected to play a major role in the coming political battle in New York State.

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Emboldened after their victory in passing what Cardinal Dolan has called “ghoulish” legislation aimed at the death of inconvenient pre-born children, New York State’s progressive politicians have already begun their well-funded war on the elderly, the disabled, and the terminally ill as the suicide advocacy group, Compassion & Choices, plans to kick off its 2019 “Medical Aid in Dying Act” campaign this month.

Mobilizing the troops in Albany to create the illusion that the proposed suicide bill is a grassroots initiative, Compassion & Choices knows that the best way to fight any war is to first wage a media campaign to convince others that the cause is noble and the enemy evil. Toward that goal, the suicide advocates will present the usual narratives of the intractable pain and prolonged suffering that we all will face if we do not support the “aid in dying” they are offering.

The battlefield has already been prepared as the state Capital will be packed with the usual assisted-suicide spokespersons, many of them elderly. There will also be those like Scott Barraco from Rochester, who testified in Albany last spring about the horrific death his girlfriend Cathy suffered because she was “robbed of her ability to plan and make decisions about her death in the same way she did for her life.”

There will likely be a few attractive family members of those with “successful” suicide stories, like Dan Diaz, the handsome husband of Brittany Maynard, the 24-year old woman who chose to die by assisted suicide in 2014 after a diagnosis of an inoperable brain tumor. On the Compassion & Choices website, where Brittany’s beautiful wedding video is still posted, the suicide advocates proudly boast, “After carefully researching and vetting all the organizations that work on this issue, Brittany and her husband Dan Diaz chose to partner with Compassion & Choices to promote and publicize Brittany’s story.”

Sometimes there are doctors or nurses presented by Compassion & Choices, who claim to “speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves.” Dr. Diana Barnard from Vermont already rallied the troops in her testimony in Albany last April describing her experience as a provider in Vermont with medical aid in dying, as has Dr. Omega Silva, an 81-year-old retired physician with three cancer diagnoses who taught and practiced medicine in DC for 50 years. Dr. Silva traveled to Albany in April to warn lawmakers would be defeating the purpose of the suicide bill if they added too many safeguards. Dr. Silva claimed that “adding more safeguards to a bill that already has enough” has resulted in no one being able to use the [assisted suicide] law in Washington, DC.

At a May 3 Compassion & Choices rally in New York City, three bioethicists testified in favor of the aid-in-dying act in New York—including leading NYU bioethicist Dr. Arthur Caplan, who described how he has changed his mind on the issue. There is also Dr. David Pratt, a consulting physician for Compassion & Choices, who argues that “aid-in-dying” is not really suicide.

The war chest at Compassion & Choices is always full. According to their 2017 990 filing with the IRS (as reported by, Compassion & Choices spent $825,715 that year alone on lobbying activities; from 2013-2016, Compassion & Choices spent a total of $3,153,665 on lobbying. George Soros has been a leader in the movement for decades. As far back as 1994, Soros donated $15 million to the “Project on Death in America.” In an introduction to the 2003 Report of Activities of the Project on Death published by his Open Society, Soros wrote a personal essay titled “Reflections on Death in America,” in which he disclosed that he admired his mother’s having “joined the Hemlock Society”—the original name for the group now known as Compassion & Choices. Soros continued to be a major donor to Compassion & Choices; in 2010, the group was listed as one of the “top 75 Grantees” of the Soros American Foundations.

But, beyond Soros, whose philanthropic activities are well known, Compassion & Choices is funded primarily by “dark money.” It is no surprise that Compassion & Choices is attempting to block all efforts to create legislation that would require “dark money” groups that support political candidates or causes to disclose their donors. Late last month in New Jersey, after an attempt by lawmakers that would require dark money groups to be exposed, Compassion & Choices CEO Kim Callinan told a reporter, “We work on what is sometimes a controversial issue…There is a minority of people who are very opposed to the legislation that we’re trying to pass. They can get hostile and confrontational, and harass and intimidate [supporters], and it’s not fair to put a donor through that.”

Suicide, however, is still a hard sell, and although progressive politicians like New York Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, sponsor of the Medical Aid in Dying Act in the Assembly, and Senator Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, sponsor of the bill in the Senate, would be grateful for the campaign contributions from the pro-death lobby, publicizing the names and the industries of the supporters of assisted suicide in New York would demonstrate exactly who stands to benefit from expanding the culture of death in New York yet again.

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About Anne Hendershott 106 Articles
Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH


  1. Interesting that, whatever the problem, the reasoning, or the context, the Democratic Party always lines up in support of death.

    The exception, of course, is capital punishment. For some reason, the lives of convicted murderers must be saved, while innocent children, the elderly, the sick or the depressed should be dispensed with.

    What an oddly perverse philosophy. Astonishing that it holds such sway over half the country — including, it would seem, a large number of Catholic Church leaders.

  2. “‘Evangelium Vitae’ Gospel of Life, the papal encyclical released in March, envisions a deepening struggle between ‘a culture of death’ and ‘a culture of life’. Abortion and euthanasia, the Pope argues, are threats to democracy. He says that our liberal society is myopically concerned with efficiency and increasingly characterized by a war of the powerful against the weak” (NYT 1995). John Paul II foresaw our growing culture of death more evident now with increased killing abortion postpartum euthanasia and assisted suicide. He envisioned this as a threat to democracy, the powerful imposing secular values to eliminate the costly burdensome care of the “weak,” that is the elderly, the mentally compromised similar to what he experienced in Nazi occupied Poland [after the German Catholic Church proclamation prohibiting killing of the innocent 1941 death camps were moved eastward into Poland, W Russia]. The Democrat Party following Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s reinforcing death in Casey 98 and sanitizing killing of the innocent with his infamous doctrine of unrestricted Liberty [in his Opinion for Planned Parenthood E PA v Casey]. Rights are inherent in Man by Natural Law only, always when reflective of Eternal Law never ‘human’ law. Our shame as Catholics is that ‘Catholics’ Justice Anthony Kennedy, Sen Edward Kennedy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, VP Joe Biden. Senator Patty Murray have been the vanguard of secular humanist destruction of time honored principles of Justice that reflected Eternal Law. Now reduced to principles of injustice and Death. Our Hierarchy must, are morally obligated to penalize them excommunication made clear openly and forcefully for all Catholics and the world to take notice.

  3. Why do all human beings not have right to live till God takes us home? Why does someone always want to come up with ways to cheat us of that? And for what reason? Like it was said, who is benefiting from this bill. Yes our human condition can be difficult at at time, isn’t that what makes us stronger, or those around us stronger.

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