Largest Medical Association in the US Opposes Assisted Suicide

The House of Medicine’s longstanding division on physician-assisted suicide resurfaced at the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates meeting, but with a fresh note of impatience this time around.

At issue was what to do with a report from the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA), which was issued in response to resolutions at the 2016 and 2017 annual meetings that asked the council to “study the issue of aid-in-dying with consideration of data collected from the states that currently authorize aid-in-dying, and input from some of the physicians who have provided medical aid-in-dying to qualified patients,” as the report put it. “CEJA was further asked to consider the need to distinguish between ‘physician-assisted suicide’ and ‘aid-in-dying.’ ”

After much discussion, the report was adopted Monday by a vote of 360-190. Delegates also voted 392-162 to reaffirm current AMA policy on assisted suicide, which was part of a “sunset report” on AMA policies from 2009, and was in concert with the stance laid out in the CEJA report…

“Oregon legalized assisted suicide in 1997 with repeated assurances that it would stay contained and would not become euthanasia,” he said. “Just last month, the Oregon state House of Representatives approved a bill to allow patient death by lethal injection, showing the inevitable progression from assisted suicide to euthanasia once physicians have accepted the idea that taking a patient’s life is permissible.”

“In Canada, assisted suicide and euthanasia were legalized only 3 years ago, and in the 3 years we’ve debated this topic here, euthanasia has become a runaway contagion in Canada, with over 4,000 deaths last year,” he continued. “These alarming developments show us that the wheels are coming off bus on assisted suicide. We do not have the luxury of time to continue to fail to act on the CEJA report while the real-world situation deteriorates. Unless we’re willing to embrace widespread euthanasia, we must accept the CEJA report and reaffirm this policy now as a firewall against what is [happening in] Canada.”

Read more at Medpage Today…

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