Washington D.C. – Members of the No DC Suicide<http://nodcsuicide.org/> coalition attended the July 10 DC Council hearing in opposition to legislation introduced by the Council that would legalize physician assisted suicide in the nation’s capital. Members of the coalition who provided testimony include physicians, disability advocates, and concerned citizens.
This bill, if passed would allow doctors to legally prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a patient who has been deemed mentally competent and received a terminal diagnosis of 6 months or less. It does not require doctors to give patients a screening for depression before providing them with the lethal prescription that will be filled at the local pharmacy. The patient would not be required to notify family members before taking the medication, and no doctor, nurse, or legal witness is required to be present when the lethal dose is taken.
“We physicians know that predicting the duration of a terminal disease is nearly impossible to do accurately. Rather than enable our patient’s suicide, we should be improving palliative care and hospice options near the end-of-life. That would allow patients to truly live their final days with comfort and dignity,” said Dr. Kevin Donovan, Director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics and Professor at Georgetown University Medical Center.
“Our health care system is failing people with disabilities, including disabilities caused by terminal illnesses and this legislation is not the answer. We need to make sure people are receiving the supports they need in order to live in their own homes – not to create a new fast track toward death,” said Sam Crane, Director of Public Policy for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and spokesperson for the No DC Suicide coalition, who testified at the hearing. “People who need these supports shouldn’t have to die to have dignity.”
The proposed legislation was introduced at the request of an outside national organization, formerly the Hemlock Society, which is seeking passage of assisted suicide legislation across the country. Similar legislation has failed to pass in 12 states this past year.
About No DC Suicide
No DC Suicide is a broad-based local coalition formed to advocate against a bill introduced in the D.C. Council (B21-0038 – the so-called “Death with Dignity Act of 2015”) that would allow doctors to legally prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a patient who is deemed mentally competent and who has received a terminal diagnosis. The No DC Suicide coalition includes healthcare professionals, disability advocates, faith leaders, and concerned citizens opposed to this dangerous legislation. For more information, please visit: http://noDCsuicide.org/<http://nodcsuicide.org/>