The Washington, D.C. City Council passed a bill to legalize assisted suicide on Tuesday despite opposition from black residents in the city, disability rights advocates, medical professionals and others.
Council members voted 11-2 to approve B-21-28, and sent it to Mayor Muriel Bowser’s desk, according to the Washington Examiner. The bill would legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in the nation’s capital, allowing anyone 18 years old or older who has a prognosis of six months or fewer to live to request lethal drugs from their doctor to commit suicide.
Bowser previously said she will not veto the legislation. Congress also must approve it before it becomes law.
Many D.C. residents expressed concerns about the doctor-prescribed suicide legislation, arguing that it would threaten the lives of the elderly, those with disabilities, the chronically ill and the poor.
Black residents in D.C. also are fighting against the doctor-prescribed suicide bill. The Washington Post reported many are worried that the bill would threaten the lives of poor and elderly residents, especially minorities.
“Because of Jim Crow laws . . . we didn’t have the opportunity to have the same jobs, to have the same insurance, the same retirement benefits,” community activist Leona Redmond told the news outlet. “It’s really aimed at old black people. It really is.”
Redmond, who is working against the bill, said they fear that, through the legislation, politicians will continue to make cost cuts a higher priority than healthcare for the poor and elderly.
In states where doctor-prescribed suicide is legal, a growing number of sick people are being denied medical treatment coverage and offered assisted suicide instead. Most recently, Stephanie Packer, a California wife and mother of four who was diagnosed with a terminal form of scleroderma, said her insurance company refused to cover the cost of her medical treatment.
Follow LifeNews.com on Instagram for pro-life pictures and the latest pro-life news.
When Packer asked her insurance company if it would cover the doctor-prescribed suicide drugs, the company told her, “Yes, we do provide that to our patients, and you would only have to pay $1.20 for the medication.”
Packer said, “As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere, when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this [assisted suicide] will always be the cheapest option.”
Patients in Oregon reported similar experiences. The D.C. bill is modeled after the Oregon doctor-prescribed suicide law.
Andrew Bair of Beltway Right to Life previously described the bill, B21-38, as a “dangerous” piece of legislation that discriminates against minorities, the elderly, the poor and individuals with disabilities.
He outlined a series of reasons why the bill is so dangerous, including increased pressure to commit suicide, a lack of safeguards and more chances for abuse.
In addition, “[t]here is no notice to family and friends; no doctors, nurses, or independent witnesses to be present; no tracking of the deadly drugs from the pharmacy; and no recourse for reported abuse,” Bair added.
Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and California already have laws or court rulings allowing the deadly practice. On Nov. 8, Colorado voters also approved a ballot measure to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide.
Action: Contact Mayor Muriel Bowser here.