In a speech to a group of Catholic physicians, Pope Francis criticized euthanasia, abortion and in-vitro fertilization as a “false compassion” and sins against God.
The Pope was addressing the Association of Italian Catholic Doctors and said that modern medicine is wrong to suggest that it is “helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to obtain euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to ‘produce’ a child and to consider it to be a right rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs presumably to save others.”
“We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment,” said the Pope. “Making children rather than accepting them as a gift.”
The comments came shortly after the Vatican’s top bioethics official referred to Brittany Maynard’s decision to end her life as “reprehensible.”
While being careful not to directly single out Maynard, Carrasco de Paula, the head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said of the right to die that the “the gesture in and of itself should be condemned.”
Brittany Maynard’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, issued her own statement in response to the recent criticism:
Reprehensibleis a harsh word. It means: “very bad; deserving very strong criticism.” Reprehensible is a word I’ve used as a teacher to describe the actions of Hitler, other political tyrants and the exploitation of children by pedophiles. As Brittany Maynard’s mother, I find it difficult to believe that anyone who knew her would ever select this word to describe her actions. Brittany was a giver. She was a volunteer. She was a teacher. She was an advocate. She worked at making the world a better place to live.
This word was used publicly at a time when my family was tender and freshly wounded. Grieving. Such strong public criticism from people we do not know, have never met – is more than a slap in the face. It is like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath.
People and institutions that feel they have the right to judge Brittany’s choices may wound me and cause me unspeakable pain but they do not deter me from supporting my daughter’s choice. There is currently a great deal of confusion and arrogance standing in the way of Americans going gently into the good night. I urge Americans to think for themselves. Make your wishes clear while you are competent. Make sure that you have all the options spelled out for you if you are diagnosed with an incurable, debilitating, painful disease. Do your own research. Ask your family to research and face the harsh reality with you. Ask your doctor to be brutally honest with you. Then make your personal choice about how you will proceed. It is YOUR choice.