USA (MNN) — Human life continues to take center-stage in US politics. Most of the country’s attention and headlines are focused on pre-born life. Abortion decisions in New York, Virginia, and Louisiana have been “the buzz” for weeks.
State leaders are making end-of-life decisions, too. Bills that legalize medically-assisted suicide are being considered in Maryland, New Jersey, and New Mexico.
Eric Verstraete, President of Life Matters Worldwide, tells us Christians need to pay attention. “I think it’s been a real wake-up call,” he says.
“We are citizens of this country, we have to be concerned about what’s going on in the legislature because – as we can see from these bills that are being passed – it is attacking life at its essence.”
Life and death decisions
Last month, Verstraete highlighted the US “abortion debate” as a sanctity of life issue. On January 22 – two days after Sanctuary of Human Life Sunday – New York legislators passed the Reproductive Health Act (RCA) into law. The decision started a new level of controversy.
The RCA allows doctors to perform abortions past the 24th week of pregnancy, which is near the end of the second trimester. As described here, babies at the 24-week stage weigh just over one pound and are roughly the same size as an ear of corn. They can move, swallow, and hear sounds. Pre-born babies in this stage are especially vulnerable to pain, this Canadian neurologist explains, because “the pain system is fully established, yet the higher level pain-modifying system has barely begun to develop.”
Today, says Verstraete, the conversation about life expands to include end-of-life legislation.
“Both of these groups of people – the preborn and those who are at the end of life – unfortunately, are not seen as an asset. They are seen as a liability… that paradigm needs to shift.”
In Maryland, lawmakers are considering the “End-of-Life Option Act,” which would allow patients with six months or less to live to ask doctors for help in ending their life. As described by Bethesda Magazine,
The bill would require dying patients to ask for life-ending medication themselves, and two witnesses would need to verify in writing that the patient was “of a sound mind” and was acting voluntarily. Only one of the witnesses could be a relative, and a neither witness could be the patient’s physician.
Now that you know, how will you respond? “As citizens of this country, we have to be concerned about what’s going on,” notes Verstraete. First and foremost, he adds, the news is a call to prayer.
“We need to know what’s going on; we need to be praying for our leaders,” he says. “Even though we may disagree with them, the Bible clearly says that we need to hold them in respect and high regard.
“They (politicians) are not the enemy. I want to make sure people hear that.”
Life Matters Worldwide helps Christians protect life on both ends of the spectrum. Learn more about their work here.
“We believe that life begins at conception and has all of the necessary components to be a person and to have value and worth…and that value stays with a person until natural death occurs… [as] we like to say, ‘from womb to tomb’.”
Header and story images are stock photos obtained via Unsplash.