On April 14, at 5:00 p.m., the Assisted Suicide bill “died in committee” for the third year in a row. We told you all three years that defeating the Assisted Suicide bill in Committee was the highest legislative priority of the Family Institute of Connecticut Action. FIC Action and our allies accomplished exactly that all three years.
Compassion and Choices (C&C), the pro-Assisted Suicide lobby, has complained bitterly to the media about the Catholic Church spending money to defeat Assisted Suicide in Connecticut. But the one group C&C attacked by name in expensive glossy mailings to state residents is the Family Institute of Connecticut. C&C knows that if this had really been just a battle between C&C and the Church, Assisted Suicide might well have become law–particularly in a state where Catholic lawmakers pride themselves on opposition to Church teaching.
The great untold story in the defeat of Assisted Suicide in Connecticut these last three years–and especially in 2015–is the ideologically diverse alliance led by FIC Action and the left-of-center disability
rights activists of Second Thoughts Connecticut. It was this grassroots alliance of largely unpaid volunteers that produced the vast majority of op-eds, letters to the editor, calls to talk radio and other public testimonies against Assisted Suicide.
The fact is that C&C made a half-million dollars gamble–MORE money than the Catholic Church spent–and they lost. They even lost ground with each passing year, failing on the second and third try to even get their bill on the agenda for a vote, conceding defeat three days before the deadline last year and SIX days before the deadline this year. That C&C could not even accomplish a first step in legalizing Assisted Suicide in Connecticut–that their bill “died in committee” without even the possibility of a vote by yesterday’s deadline–shows how decisively FIC Action and our allies won this battle.
And why did we win so decisively? Because of the extraordinary East Coast Conference Against Assisted Suicide co-hosted by FIC Action last November. Because our disability rights allies conducted a good press conference. Because we had the best public hearing in the history of FIC Action–even better than the last two years. (One Committee Chairman says it was the public hearing that killed the bill!) Because you, our faithful members, contacted your legislators. Because those legislators listened and were genuinely open to being educated on the dangers of Assisted Suicide.
Speaking of those legislators, the pro-Assisted Suicide Hartford Courant ran an editorial Friday calling the co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee “craven” for not holding a vote on the Assisted Suicide bill. In fact, the co-chairmen pulled the bill at the request of the pro-Assisted Suicide lobby because–as C&C’s own leader openly admitted–a lost vote would have set the pro-Assisted Suicide cause back “several years.”
We hope the co-chairmen of the Judiciary Committee will remember The Courant’s editorial, how they were treated by advocates for Assisted Suicide for doing exactly what the pro-Assisted Suicide lobby wanted from them, when C&C requests from them yet another public hearing for Assisted Suicide.
Meanwhile, we must continue to be on our guard. Though it is unlikely, the Assisted Suicide bill could return as an amendment on another bill before the close of the legislative session on June 3rd. Even if it does not, our opposition has vowed to bring it back some day.
Despite our decisive victory yesterday, the war is not over. Indeed, it may continue for several years. FIC Action is grateful to know that in the battles ahead we are not alone. We have you, our faithful members. We have our allies, especially the people with disabilities and advocates for the elderly that did so much to make yesterday’s victory possible.
And we have God–or rather, He has us–the One through Whom all good things come, including yesterday’s success. Thank you, almighty God.