Testimony of Richard M. Doerflinger
June 24, 1999
On behalf of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in support of H.R. 2260, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999
House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution June 24, 1999
I am Richard M. Doerflinger, Associate Director for Policy Development at the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, National Conference of Catholic Bishops. I am also an Adjunct Fellow in Bioethics and Public Policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Boston.
The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999 (H.R. 2260). We believe that swift enactment of this legislation is needed for two purposes: (1) to correct a seriously flawed 1998 ruling by U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, which authorizes the use of federally regulated drugs to assist vulnerable patients' suicides wherever the practice is permitted by state law; and (2) to promote the legitimate use of these drugs to relieve pain and other distressing symptoms, especially for patients who are terminally ill.