Last updated on: 7/13/2017 | Author:

Richard Doerflinger, MA Biography

Public Policy Fellow at the University of Notre Dame's Center for Ethics and Culture
Con to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"

“[C]ampaigning to end certain people’s lives doesn’t end suffering – it passes on the suffering to other similar people, who now have to fear they are the next people in line to be seen as having worthless lives. And people who have died from a drug overdose have no freedom of choice at all. Moreover, societies that authorize suicide as a ‘choice’ for some people soon end up placing pressure on them to ‘do the right thing’ and kill themselves… Seeing suicide as a solution for some illnesses can only undermine the willingness of doctors and society to learn how to show real compassion and address patients’ pain and other problems. In states that have legalized assisted suicide, in fact, most patients request the lethal drugs not due to pain (or even fear of future pain), but due to concerns like ‘loss of dignity’ and ‘becoming a burden on others’ – attitudes that these laws encourage. The solution is to care for people in ways that assure them that they have dignity and it is a privilege, not a burden, to care for them as long as they live.”

“Q&A with the Scholars: Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia,”, Jan. 30, 2017

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Public Policy Fellow, Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame
  • Adjunct Fellow, Bioethics and Public Policy, National Catholic Bioethics Center
  • Member, Advisory Board, Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity
  • Associate Director, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2008-Apr. 2016
  • Former Associate Director for Policy Development, USCCB
  • Former Assistant Director for Policy Development, USCCB
  • Former Legislative Assistant, USCCB
  • Attended the Catholic University of America
  • MA, Divinity, University of Chicago
  • BA, Divinity, University of Chicago
  • Received Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture’s Evangelium Vitae Medal in Apr. 2011
  • On June 24, 1999, he testified before a House Judiciary Committee subcommittee in support of HR 2260, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999
Quoted in:
  1. Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?