On 3/29/14, MCFL held its annual pro-life convention at Assumption College in Worcester. Attendees were treated an impressive array of speakers who presented pro-life developments from the medical, educational, legal and religious perspectives. It was a most informative day for all participants!
PLLDF board member, Professor Dwight Duncan, and former member and acting president, Attorney Henry Luthin, addressed the audience on legal issues involving religious freedom and doctor prescribed suicide. A lively question and answer period followed each presentation.
Professor Duncan explained the legal arguments considered by the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in the Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. cases, involving the associated religious freedom issues from both a constitutional and statutory point of reference. He described the controversy over whether business corporations are “persons” within the meaning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and articulated the constitutional tests applied when a religious practice is substantially burdened by government.
Attorney Luthin enlightened listeners about the history of attempts to adopt doctor prescribed suicide in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He presented a comprehensive analysis of the ballot question which was defeated by a narrow margin in November 2012, and compared that ballot question with the new doctor prescribed suicide bill pending in a Massachusetts legislature.
Included among other troublesome provisions of the new bill, Attorney Luthin explained, were the facts that the new bill (1) eliminates any waiting period between the request and the prescription for the life-ending medication, (2) dangerously allows the attending physician to easily waive the requirement for a consulting physician’s opinion, and (3) includes burdensome conscious protections for health care providers and facilities.