American Medical Association Considering Abandoning Decades-Long Opposition to Assisted Suicide

National   |   Jennifer Popik, JD   |   Sep 15, 2016   |   9:39AM   |   Washington, D.C.

There is an effort currently underway within the American Medical Association (AMA) to abandon its decades-long position opposing assisted suicide and take a neutral stance.

At its July 2017 annual meeting, the AMA will consider taking a “neutral” position which essentially sends a green light to the states that legalizing is acceptable. However, we have recently been made aware that the AMA will hold an interim meeting on November 13 and 14 in Orlando where a special breakout session will be held on assisted suicide.

Both the national and state medical societies’ opposition to doctor-prescribed suicide have been instrumental in stopping the spread of these dangerous laws. In fact, when the Vermont and California medical societies took neutral positions, it was devastating to the efforts in the legislature to block legalization. Assisting suicide is now legal in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California, and the practice may have some legal protection in the state of Montana.

The AMA should retain its longstanding position in opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide because:

  • Medical professionals should focus on providing care and comfort to patients – NOT becoming a source of lethal drugs. I would not want my doctor to have this power and suggest suicide to me as an “option.”
  • Will the government and insurance companies do the right thing – pay for treatment costing thousands of dollars – or the cheap thing – pay for lethal drugs costing hundreds of dollars?
  • Everyone knows someone who has been misdiagnosed or outlived a terminal diagnosis.
  • Wanting to die because of depression is treatable.   Millions of people are living proof.
  • Everyone agrees that dying in pain is unacceptable, however nearly all pain is now treatable. A patient in pain should find a new doctor.
  • Oregon is proof that general suicides rise dramatically once assisted suicide is promoted as a “good.”
  • My family member could die from taking lethal drugs and I wouldn’t know about it until he/she is dead because no family notification is required in advance.
  • Assisted suicide is a recipe for elder and disability abuse because it can put lethal drugs in the hands of abusers.
  • A relative who is an heir to the patient’s estate or an abusive caregiver can pick up the lethal drugs and administer them without the patient’s knowledge or consent. There is no oversight and no witnesses are required once the lethal drugs leave the pharmacy

Please contact the following and urge the American Medical Association to retain its position against assisted suicide:

Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, MD, AMA President, [email protected]

330 N Wabash, Ste 43482

Chicago IL 60611-5885

312.464.5618 ph

312.464.4094 fx

Bette Crigger, PhD, CEJA’s Secretary, [email protected]

Secretary, Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs

American Medical Association

330 N Wabash, Ste 43482

Chicago  IL 60611-5885

312.464.5223 ph

312.224.6911 fx

LifeNews Note: Jennifer Popik is a medical ethics attorney and the director of the medical ethics department for National Right to Life.