Assist me in living, not in dying.
Oppose Assisted Suicide.
all life has worth and deserves protection and respect.
Euthanasia is the intentional killing of a person. Assisted suicide is suicide committed by someone with assistance from another person. Some people advocate for euthanasia and assisted suicide because they believe those are merciful acts. However, intentionally killing a human being is always wrong. These acts use killing as a solution to problems that are best addressed with caring help. The Patients Rights Action Fund website has more information on this topic.
common questions and answers
Did you know that Dubuque County Right to Life, Inc. has a Lending Library?
Our Lending Library offers a wide selections of materials ranging from movies, CD's, books, and other publications to help you gain information on matters regarding LIFE. If you are interested in checking out our Library, come visit us at our office located on 2205 Carter Road, Dubuque, IA 52001. Attached below is a variety of books that speak on the topic of Assisted Suicide or Euthanasian, some can be found in out Library.
inspirational stories of those who choose to LIVE.
Dying with Dignity
Wednesday, December 4th, 2002 - Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
When you hear the phrase, “dying with dignity” what comes to mind? The ability to choose the timing of your own demise? Eliminating all suffering? Avoiding degradation of your physical abilities, mental abilities, or both, by taking control and deciding for yourself when it is time to check out? These may be the things which come to mind for some, but for me, it’s something different.
On Saturday, May 4, 2019, our family celebrated our son’s First Holy Communion. Pictures document plenty of sunshine and smiling faces. Everything was normal. Everything was good for my husband, my-newly-pregnant-self, our sixteen-year-old daughter, our fourteen-year-old son, our ten-year-old son, and of course, the First Communicant, who was eight. We were blissfully unaware that in just seven days, life as we knew it, would be flipped upside down. Dreams we had taken for granted as “next steps” would be shattered. We were about to embark on a nightmare of a journey.
On Monday, I miscarried. I spent most of the next few days crying in bed. I did notice our daughter’s voice was very weak. However, she was very upset about the loss of her sibling and I assumed she was just trying not to cry as she spoke. Midweek, she began telling me she just couldn’t focus. By Saturday, she was bumping into walls, and a trip to acute care seemed warranted. Acute care signaled the first red flag when they sent us straight to the E.R., and transported her in a wheelchair. Within hours we were in an ambulance on our way to Iowa City, having been told she had an inoperable brain tumor. Within days we were told she had D.I.P.G., and there was no chance of survival. She was given anywhere from weeks to months to live. Sharing this with her, was quite possibly one of the most difficult things we’ve ever been called to do.
How did she respond? Shock, incomprehension, disbelief, and denial were all present. Also present, and coming more into focus with each passing moment, were faithfulness, trust, and courage. She was kind. She was brave. She did not complain. She quietly offered her sufferings to Our Lord. In essence, she lived her life and faced her death with true dignity.
What do I mean by “true dignity?” If you look up the definition of dignity you will find terms and phrases such as “worthy of respect,” “honored,” “self-respect,” etc. Like every human being, from the moment of her conception, until her natural death, she was worthy of respect, and she knew this. She was honored, as all life should be. She always knew every life is a gift, but throughout her illness and death she obtained a deeper, more mature knowledge and understanding of the gift of life. Despite a sharp decline in her physical abilities, she respected herself. She recognized her life served a purpose whether she was performing in a play before diagnosis, or quietly offering her suffering as she lost the ability to do things most of us take for granted. She had faithful trust in God’s plan for her, knowing His great love for all of his children. She understood whatever His plan might entail, was ultimately for the good of her soul, and she humbly surrendered to His will.
At sixteen-years-old, and after an eleven day stay in the hospital, she was released. Her voice was barely audible, she could only drink thickened liquids, she could not walk or stand on her own. She could not use utensils or pick up a pencil to write. She could not use the bathroom, shower, or dress without a great deal of assistance. On top of it all, she knew, barring a miracle, she would likely be dead within a year.
I suspect this might be the point where those who have a very different understanding of the phrase “dying with dignity” might begin contemplating the value of their life and discerning whether or not it’s worth living. Afterall, it’s difficult. Death is imminent anyway. Suffering is not going to be fun. The care needed will place a burden on loved ones. Wouldn’t it be easier to just get it over with? Life is over, so what’s the point? Listen. I’m here to tell you life is worth living. Every single moment, from the greatest joy to the most tremendous suffering, is a gift. There is a purpose, greater and more meaningful, for our lives, which we cannot possibly fully comprehend, in this world. Deciding for ourselves when we are finished with our mission here on earth, robs us, and those around us, of countless opportunities to grow, to love, to serve, and to live. It does not give us dignity. Rather, it strips us of our dignity. This mentality twists truth. It tries to convince us any life which is less than ideal, really isn’t worth living. What a tragedy it is when souls embrace this lie!
Radiation Therapy is currently the only treatment for D.I.P.G., and it is considered therapeutic. The patient will still die, but with radiation there is a possibility of the tumor temporarily shrinking, and providing more time to live. Our daughter responded very well to radiation, and within a few weeks she was regaining many of her abilities. She was able to function fairly normally from the end of her radiation in July, until March, when symptoms of her progression began.
Every moment of the eleven months she lived after diagnosis was worthwhile. Was there suffering? Yes! There was immense suffering! My heart aches when I allow myself to remember all she suffered, but in the midst of suffering, she chose joy. She chose joy and as her family and friends, we followed her lead. We actively sought the good in every moment. Tears and laughter together, filled our home. It became very clear that gratitude abounds in the midst of suffering, and suffering embraced, accepted, and offered is a priceless gift. It just happens to be wrapped in very unattractive packaging. She knew she was going to die without graduating high school, without getting married, without having children. These were all things she desperately wanted. She mourned the loss of her dreams. She mourned the loss of her abilities. She loved to write. She loved to play piano. Eventually, her body was unable to do those things. Eventually, her body was unable to speak, to swallow, to walk, to stand, and finally, to breathe, but she knew she had worth. She had dignity.
Taking care of her was not a burden. It was an absolute privilege, which allowed those of us around her to grow in selflessness, in strength, and in love. She showed us true courage and made very clear the things which are truly important in this life. While the road was rough, it was definitely worth traveling to the very end. There were many bumps along the way, but somehow eight months into the journey, when reflecting on life since diagnosis, she was able to say, “Mom, I know this sounds weird, but I think last summer was the best summer of my life.” Do not cut life short because it is painful and difficult, overwhelming, or full of fearsome crosses. Who would predict as she left the hospital in May in a wheelchair, with all her hopes and dreams dashed, that the next few months would be the best in her life? What a gift her life was, and what a gift every single life is. Our purpose in life is so much bigger than we can possibly comprehend. Choosing when to begin or end a life should only be entrusted to the Creator himself, who knows our purpose and has the perfect plan for us. Faithfully trusting in, and embracing this, is truly “dying with dignity.”
Live in spite of...
Do you know someone that has chosen to live a beautiful life in spite of their diagnosis or health condition? If so, we would love to hear their story! Because the reality is that every life is precious and deserves to be lived to the fullest despite life's circumstances.