Just asking

If abortion and suicide are alike murder in Catholic doctrine, then why aren’t Catholic politicians required to support criminalizing suicide?

In terms of the Catholic Church’s reading of Natural Law, suicide, like abortion, is a form of murder. Both are therefore forbidden by the Sixth Commandment. Suicide was once a criminal act everywhere in Christendom; not only was the attempt punishable as attempted murder, but successful suicide brought with it not only denial of Christian burial but forfeiture of estate.

So if the Catholic prohibition on abortion makes it incumbent on every Catholic voter and official to support writing that prohibition into secular law, why isn’t the same true of the Catholic prohibition on suicide?

[If some learned reader knows the actual, official answer to this question, I’d be glad to post it.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com