Pastor and evangelist Rick Warren and the disabled author Joni Eareckson Tada have spoken out against recent moves to legalise assisted suicide in California.
Last week, the state Senate approved legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for patients who are thought to have six months or less to live.
The Bill now moves to the state Assembly, where it will be looked at by two sub-committees before a full Assembly vote.
Christian author and quadriplegic Joni Eareckson Tada said that legalising assisted suicide “can lead to abuse”.
“While meant to apply to terminal illness, the definition of such is often murky and those with significant disabilities may be pressured by insurers, and even families, into believing it is their ‘duty to die’.”
She warned that in other US states where assisted suicide has been legalised, safeguards to ensure patients seeking lethal prescriptions are properly evaluated have failed.
Tada commented: “A life is of infinite worth and there is value to us and those around us in our suffering”.
“I fear we are trying to put ourselves in God’s place to determine when a life should end. As our Creator, it is His call and His alone.”
Joni Eareckson Tada, 65, became paralysed from the shoulders down when she was 17 as a result of a diving accident.
Since then she has set up an organisation for international Christian ministry to the disabled community, and is an award-winning author of close to 50 books.
Evangelist and pastor Rick Warren also spoke out against the Californian assisted suicide legislation.
“I oppose this law as a theologian and as the father of a son who took his life after struggling with mental illness for 27 years,” he said.
After the California state Senate vote last week, Warren pointed his Twitter followers to the story of Stephanie Parker, a 32-year-old wife and mother of four who was told she had three years to live in 2012.
Parker, who was diagnosed with a chronic connective tissue disease, said that terminally ill people “need to know they’re valuable and worthwhile”.
She said, “if they really value their lives and the lives of the people around them, they could entrust their doctors to care for them properly and treat their pain”.