Catholic Church prepares for battle over right-to-die legislation at Capitol

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Catholic church ready to fight right to die legislation

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DENVER -- The Archdiocese of Denver is using priests, deacons and church bulletins in its fight against legislation proposed in the General Assembly.

The legislation is HB 1054 and Senate Bill 25. Both bills would give options to terminally ill patients regarding whether or not they should end their life.

"My constituents want this," said Rep. Lois Court, a House Democrat sponsoring the bill.

The measure would allow terminally ill patients with six months left to request an end-of-life option. According to the bill, two doctors would have to sign off on the option.

"It does say that doctors, pharmacists, nurses, hospices, anyone that doesn't want to participate in giving this option to patients doesn't have too," Court said.

In town this week to lobby lawmakers is Dan Diaz, who made national headlines in 2014 when his wife, Brittany Maynard, announced she had decided to move to Oregon and end her life. Maynard was just 29 years old and was battling a terminal brain tumor.

"I made a promise to my wife Brittany to do whatever I could to help move legislation forward so no one would have to go through what she went through," Diaz said.

But several physicians, many of them Catholic, are speaking out against the bill.

"I think this is a very poor piece of legislation," said Dr. Tom Newman, a retired internist.

Newman said he is concerned that giving doctors this option will make death a more acceptable outcome.

"It's easier to kill somebody after you've killed somebody after you've killed somebody -- that's proven. I'm afraid you might develop that kind of a mentality," Newman said.

The bills are scheduled for their first hearings next week.

The Denver Archdiocese and the Virginia Catholic Conference were unavailable for interviews Tuesday.

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