May 17, 2024

Catholic healthcare in Colorado may clash with new assisted suicide law

Two systems have refused to cooperate

The US state of Colorado has legalized assisted suicide, but its large Catholic hospital system is refusing to cooperate, according to STAT.  

The state’s largest healthcare company, Centura Health, which operates 15 hospitals and more than 100 physician practices and clinics, will “opt out” of offering aid in dying. Centura is jointly operated by Catholic Health Initiatives and Adventist Health System, associated with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which also opposed assisted suicide.

The second-largest, SCL Health, says that patients who request assisted suicide will be given the option of transferring to another healthcare facility. SCL Health runs seven hospitals and dozens of clinics.

The Colorado law specifies that healthcare systems may not prohibit their doctors from discussing end-of-life options with their patients or from writing prescriptions for lethal medications which can be consumed elsewhere. The policies of Centura and SCL may be testing this provision, a representative of Compassion & Choices, the assisted suicide lobby group, told STAT. C&C is thinking of a legal challenge to their policies.

Other healthcare systems in Colorado will offer the option of assisted suicide, so patients in urban areas will still be able to access it. But in rural areas, sometimes the Catholic system is the only one available.
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