Life  Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide and all Euthanasia Efforts  Policy Brief  End Of Life Issues  Suicide

ERLC Opposes Physician-Assisted Suicide and All Euthanasia Efforts


Southern Baptists affirm every life is worthy of protection and is created in the image of God. Life begins at conception, and abortion denies precious human lives both personhood and protection, from the beginning to natural end of life. Scripture is clear that every person, regardless of age, race, or ability, is made in the image of God (Jer. 1:5; Psa. 139:13). 

Following a decision by the Supreme Court, physician-assisted suicide has continued to gain traction in states around the nation. In 1997, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Washington v. Glucksberg that state prohibitions on physician-assisted suicide do not violate the Constitution, thus opening the door for states to legislate the matter. Currently, 10 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized physician-assisted suicide. While most states outlaw physician-assisted suicide and classify it as manslaughter or a lesser felony, there are growing movements in roughly 19 states in 2024 state legislatures to permit this practice.

Pain and suffering call for compassionate treatment that supports a God-honoring culture of life, not euthanasia. Ethical principles derived from Judeo-Christian and Hippocratic traditions provide compassionate methods of both hospice and palliative care. Through a 2001 resolution, Southern Baptists resolved that legalized euthanasia is immoral ethically, unnecessary medically, and unconscionable socially.

Physician-assisted suicide is not healthcare. Medicine has been governed for over 2,500 years by the belief it is always wrong to intend to harm one’s patients, including killing or assisting a patient to kill himself or herself.  We rightly grieve death, particularly suicide. Additionally, many states that have adopted these permissive laws are intentionally targeting those with disabilities and offering them ways to end their lives rather than proper physical and mental healthcare. 

The ERLC strongly urges Congress and state legislatures to reject any attempts to legalize physician-assisted suicide.


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