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Witness for Life to hold forum on assisted suicide

Posted By September 26, 2014 | 3:18 pm | Local
Speaker Marie Romagnano
Speaker Marie Romagnano

A committee formed two years ago to oppose a move to introduce physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts  will hold a free forum titled “Death with Real Dignity: Protect the Vulnerable, Comfort the Suffering,” from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 4 in the Hagan Campus Center Hall at Assumption College.
Roger Dubuque, chairman of the Witness for Life Committee, said the committee was formed after a statewide referendum which would have legalized physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts was defeated by 51 to 49 percent.
He said the question cannot be brought back to the voters as a referendum for six years. But there is a bill in the state House of Representatives, House 1998, which would do the same thing the referendum was supposed to do.
Mr. Dubuque said the bill was tabled this year but can come back for a vote in 2015. Assisted suicide is also known as “Death with Dignity.” He the committee wanted to penetrate that euphemism and  tell people “what assisted suicide is really about.”
Gummere HiRes_5663211170113   Forum speakers will be Deacon Peter J. Gummere of the Diocese of Burlington, Vt.; John B. Kelly, director of Second Thoughts Massachusetts: People with Disabilities Opposing the Legislation of Assisted Suicide, and Marie Romagnano, a registered nurse who founded Health Care Professionals for Divine Mercy.
According to information from the Witness for Life Committee which is holding the forum, Deacon Gummere, speaks and consults on bioethics and has published articles on bioethics and assisted suicide. He is a member of the National Catholic Bioethics Center and the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists and serves on the adjunct faculty for the Pontifical College St. Josephinum of Columbus, Ohio.
He has worked on pro-life issues since 1970 and actively opposes physician-assisted suicide initiatives in Vermont. He will discuss “Physician-Assisted Suicide: Politics, the Pendulum, Pragmatism and Prayer.”
John Kelly headshot  Mr. Kelly is described as a Boston-based long-time disability rights activist and writer. He helped organized the campaign against the 2012 ballot question which would have legalized assisted suicide in Massachusetts. His work against assisted suicide has appeared in regional media, the Boston Globe and CNN. He is past chair of the Boston Disability Commission.
He will discuss “Defeating Assisted Suicide Through the Leadership of the Disability Community.”
Ms. Romagnano, a catastrophic injury nurse, coordinated her organization’s  annual Medicine, Bioethics and Spirituality Conference. She is the author of “Nursing With the Hands of Jesus.”
She will discuss “The Spiritual Care of the Sick, Injured and Dying.” She will provide specific instruction on the various elements of the universal Divine Mercy message and its practical application to care for physical and spiritual needs of the sick and dying.
The general public, as well as physicians, nurses, social workers and chaplains who want to receive educational credits for attending the forum, should complete the registration form at www.witnessforlife.com.
According to the Witness for Life Committee, the program has been approved for 2.25 continuing education hours by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains.
Sponsors of the forum are The Catholic Free Press, 970AM Emmanuel Radio, Southbridge and 1230AM Emmanuel Radio, Worcester.