BioEthics and Beyond

Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

 In his 2019 book, The Day is Now Far Spent*, Cardinal Sarah writes:

"Euthanasia is another form of contempt for human life...

To die with dignity is to die being loved! All the rest is a lie! The persons who devote themselves with tireless generosity in services that provide palliative care, so as to diminish pain and to accompany and love patients in their solitude - they know well that it is extremely rare for a patient to ask for euthanasia. If he does, his request masks some kind of distress. Basically, I think that the reason why there is a debate today about euthanasia is because we who are well cannot bear the presence of the sick and suffering. They are  begging for our love and compassion. We do not have the courage to look them in the eye. We no longer have enough love to give them. Our society is experiencing a drought of love, and so it wants to get rid of those who need it most."

* published by Ignatius Press (2019): Link to the Ignatius Press website, , to purchase this great book, highly recommended by Bishop Thomas Olmsted (Phoenix), Archbishop Charles Chaput (Philadelphia), Raymond Cardinal Burke, Gerhard Cardinal Muller, Archbishop Samuel Aquila (Denver), Bill Donohue and Raymond Arroyo. 


Cardinal Sarah's book continues:

"The response to euthanasia is to love until death! Euthanasia is based essentially on an economic rationale. It is necessary to get rid of persons who have become useless to society and costly."

"The media are fully engaged in this fight for euthanasia, claiming that it helps to alleviate pain and prepare for an easy, happy death. They like to present forcefully the details of  particularly moving cases so as to play on the feelings of the public."

"At the end of their earthly journey, men do not need a cold, death-dealing syringe. They need a compassionate, loving hand."

As noted above, Cardinal Sarah's book is published by Ignatius Press. The quotations above are on pages 188 to 190.

Standing Firm Before a Slippery Slope

Physician-assisted suicide is now legal in nine states and Washington, D.C. Maine is the most recent state to allow it, with the law going into effect Jan. 1. Advocates say such laws show compassion for the dying. In reality, vulnerable populations are facing greater pressure to end their lives. The more assisted suicide is accepted, the more “the right to die” will become, for many, a duty to die.

Despite the legal and cultural forces promoting acceptance of assisted suicide, the Catholic Church is holding fast to the dignity of the human person and the integrity of medicine. And the Church is not alone in condemning these laws; professional medical associations, other religious leaders and advocates for people with disabilities — including the Knights of Columbus — have all vocally opposed physician-assisted suicide in recent months.  Click the picture for the full story - on the website of the Knights of Columbus (

Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images
Photo by Deborah Feingold/Corbis via Getty Images


Last May, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision in Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, a two-part case involving an Indiana abortion law.

In the first part, the Court upheld the state’s law regarding the disposal of aborted fetuses. Justice Clarence Thomas noted that the law “prohibits… treating the bodies of aborted children as ‘infectious waste’ and incinerating them alongside … laboratory-animal carcasses, and surgical byproducts.”

The second question before the Court was whether the state could prohibit abortions based on the child’s race, sex, diagnosis of Down syndrome, disability or related characteristics. Though the Court declined to consider that part of the law, Justice Thomas took the opportunity in his concurring opinion to address the topic of eugenics in relation to elective abortions.

The following excerpt is drawn from his judicial opinion.

THIS CASE HIGHLIGHTS the fact that abortion is an act rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation. From the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as means of effectuating eugenics. Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was particularly open about the fact that birth control could be used for eugenic purposes. These arguments about the eugenic potential for birth control apply with even greater force to abortion, which can be used to target specific children with unwanted characteristics.

Even after World War II, future Planned Parenthood President Alan Guttmacher and other abortion advocates endorsed abortion for eugenic reasons and promoted it as a means of controlling the population and improving its quality. As explained below, a growing body of evidence suggests that eugenic goals are already being realized through abortion.

Like many elites of her day, Sanger accepted that eugenics was “the most adequate and thorough avenue to the solution of racial, political and social problems.” … In her view, birth-control advocates and eugenicists were “seeking a single end” “to assist the race toward the elimination of the unfit.” … Sanger even argued that “eugenists and others who are laboring for racial betterment” could not “succeed” unless they “first clear[ed] the way for Birth Control.”

Sanger herself campaigned for birth control in black communities. In 1930, she opened a birth-control clinic in Harlem. Then, in 1939, Sanger initiated the “Negro Project,” an effort to promote birth control in poor, Southern black communities. …


To be sure, Sanger distinguished between birth control and abortion. … Sanger argued that “nothing short of contraceptives can put an end to the horrors of abortion and infanticide.” …

Today, notwithstanding Sanger’s views on abortion, respondent Planned Parenthood promotes both birth control and abortion as “reproductive health services” that can be used for family planning. And with today’s prenatal screening tests and other technologies, abortion can easily be used to eliminate children with unwanted characteristics. … As petitioners and several amicus curiae briefs point out, moreover, abortion has proved to be a disturbingly effective tool for implementing the discriminatory preferences that undergird eugenics.

In Iceland, the abortion rate for children diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero approaches 100%. Other European countries have similarly high rates (98% in Denmark, 90% in the United Kingdom, 77% in France), and the rate in the United States is approximately two-thirds.

In Asia, widespread sex-selective abortions have led to as many as 160 million “missing” women — more than the entire female population of the United States. And recent evidence suggests that sex-selective abortions of girls are common among certain populations in the United States as well.

Eight decades after Sanger’s “Negro Project,” abortion in the United States is also marked by a considerable racial disparity. The reported nationwide abortion ratio — the number of abortions per 1,000 live births — among black women is nearly 3.5 times the ratio for white women. And there are areas of New York City in which black children are more likely to be aborted than they are to be born alive — and are up to eight times more likely to be aborted than white children in the same area. …

Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the twentieth- century eugenics movement. In other contexts, the Court has been zealous in vindicating the rights of people even potentially subjected to race, sex, and disability discrimination. Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever. — Justice Clarence Thomas

The above content is excerpted from the Knight of Columbus periodical, Columbia - January, 2020. Link here for the entire article:

Knights of Columbus - Columbia - January 2020