ACP reaffirms opposition to physician-assisted suicide

“This practice is problematic given the nature of the patient–physician relationship, affects trust in that relationship as well as in the profession, and fundamentally alters the medical profession’s role in society.”

ACP issued a position paper this week reaffirming its opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

The paper, from the Ethics, Professionalism and Human Rights Committee, is an update of the College’s 2001 position paper on this topic. It noted that there are arguments on both sides of the issue, with those in support of physician-assisted suicide highlighting respect for patient autonomy and “a broad interpretation of a physician’s duty to relieve suffering” and those opposed stressing that physicians should provide care and comfort and should not participate in intentionally ending a life. However, the paper noted that the arguments against legalization of physician-assisted suicide “remain the most compelling.”

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