California Senate Committee Rejects Suicide Bill

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Opponents of assisted suicide in California were elated June 27 after the state Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a long-dormant bill that would have allowed terminally ill patients to obtain life-ending drugs.

The deciding vote was cast by outgoing Democratic Sen. Joseph Dunn, who chairs the committee. He said he struggled with how to vote on the bill but ultimately decided he did not want to see the poor and disabled urged to end their lives so hospitals and the medical industry could cut costs.

During a 15-minute speech prior to casting his no vote, Dunn said, “In this society, more often than not, public policy decisions are driven unfortunately by money concerns, not by policy concerns.” Supporters of the measure, written by Assemblywoman Patty Berg and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, both Democrats, declared defeat after being unable to gather the three votes needed from the five-member Judiciary Committee to move it forward.


Resist Anger Over Soldier’s Death, Bishop Says

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — The death of Army Pfc. Kristian Menchaca, the U.S. soldier captured and brutalized in Iraq, should not lead people to feel “unholy rage and anger,” said Bishop Raymundo Peña of Brownsville during the June 28 funeral Mass for the soldier.

During the bilingual Mass at the Brownsville Event Center, the bishop told hundreds of mourners that reacting with anger “would only dishonor Kristian’s very name and Kristian himself.” He said, “At this moment, we must, as he did, reach for the ideal: to work for peace and an end to conflict wherever we may find it — at home, on the streets or even in a foreign land.” The 23-year-old soldier, the son of a Mexican immigrant, was one of three U.S. Army soldiers who died after a June 16 insurgent attack at the checkpoint they were guarding.

Menchaca and another soldier, Pfc. Thomas Tucker from Madras, Ore., were missing for three days before their mutilated bodies were found booby-trapped with explosives. The third soldier, Spc. David Babineau from Springfield, Mass., died in the initial attack.


Don’t Abandon Trade Talks, Urges Bishop

NEW YORK — The chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Policy has urged developed nations not to abandon world trade talks aimed at improving the economies of poor countries.

“The Catholic bishops in the United States urge leaders to focus on trade’s impact on the poor of the world. Political and moral leadership are needed now,” said Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Fla., in a letter to the editor of The New York Times.

“As we approach the fifth anniversary of Sept. 11 (2001), global poverty is still a scandal and a threat to peace and security. Trade that is both fair and free can help address this,” the bishop said in the six-paragraph letter, which appeared in the paper July 6.

The letter commented on a July 4 Times news story reporting failure by the United States and the European Union to reach agreement on lowering tariffs on imported food products and reducing subsidies to their farmers. The reductions would open U.S. and European markets to food products from underdeveloped countries.