The Sweetest Win

by Michael Sean Winters

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Massachusetts voters rejected an effort to legalize physician assisted suicide yesterday, narrowly, but they did it. This is, to my mind, the most important election result of the night. And the victory did not simply happen. In the early summer, polls indicated the proposal would pass overwhelmingly. What happened? First Steve Schneck of Catholic University penned an article opposing the measure for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Then, Vicki Kennedy wrote a beautiful and moving op-ed opposing PAS. Finally EJ Dionne weighed in opposing it. Three notable voices of the Catholic Left, all opposing something that is truly diabolical, standing with the Church, and making the case to liberals that this is a really bad idea. On a day when same sex marriage cleaned up at the polls, it is worth looking at what was done in Massachusetts, the most liberal state in the nation, to get the electorate to side with the Church.

This vote was close to my heart. This morning, I could not find the results, but when I finally did, I confess I cried. Here was a victory against a misguided libertarianism that thinks we own our bodies as if they were commodities. It is a huge victory for the Church, which stayed under the radar screen in Massachusetts but was effectively making the case to key constituencies and lining up advocates like Schneck, Mrs. Kennedy and Dionne. It was a close call. Bishops in New York and Connecticut and other states in the liberal Northeast should think about reaching out now to the disability community, the American Medical Association, and others who formed the alliance in Massachusetts to defeat this pernicious proposal. But, this ain't horseshoes so, close or not, we won.

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