Opposition to MAID from religiously-affiliated hospitals and hospices, specifically Catholic organizations, presents significant institutional barriers to patient participation. According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, around 40% of hospital beds are in religiously affiliated hospitals and follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (2018), which says, “euthanasia [is] never morally acceptable” and that, “dying patients who request euthanasia should receive loving care, psychological and spiritual support and appropriate remedies for pain…so they can live with dignity until the time of natural death.” Religious hospices follow similar directives and deny patients information about MAID.
In Spokane County, four healthcare organizations recently applied to begin or expand hospice services in the area. We requested a public hearing to ask the organizations to declare their policies on MAID, to which Catholic organizations sent numerous attendees advocating for their position on MAID. Listen to the hearing below.