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Resolution On Assisted Suicide

WHEREAS, Two U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals have voted for the first time in American history to strike down laws prohibiting physician assisted suicide; and

WHEREAS, Michigan courts have consistently acquitted Dr. Jack Kevorkian of any criminal wrong-doing in assisting individuals to end their own lives by suicide; and

WHEREAS, A University of Pennsylvania survey recently found that 20 percent of nurses polled had performed euthanasia or assisted in the suicide of a patient; and

WHEREAS, Western medicine has heretofore followed both the Judeo-Christian tradition and the over 2500 year-old Hippocratic tradition forbidding physicians to assist in the death of their patients; and

WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God created all human life in His own image and declares human life to be sacred from conception until natural death (Genesis 1:29:6ff); and

WHEREAS, The Bible likewise teaches that murder, including self-murder, is immoral (Exodus 20:13); and

WHEREAS, American society seems to be embracing of the culture of death; Now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED, That we the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 11-13, 1996, affirm the biblical and Hippocratic prohibitions against assisted suicide; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we commend and encourage medical science in its efforts to improve pain management techniques, thus removing one major impetus toward assisted dying; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we call upon physicians, nurses, hospice workers, individual Christians and local churches to make emotional, psychological, and spiritual care of suffering patients a priority, thereby relieving the sense of isolation and abandonment some dying patients feel; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we vigorously denounce assisted suicide as an appropriate means of treating suffering; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, That we call upon federal, state, and local governments to prosecute under the law physicians or others who practice assisted suicide.