On October 18, 2016, the Committee of the Whole will vote on B21-38 Death with Dignity 2015, a bill that would legalize assisted suicide in the District of Columbia. This bill not only discriminates against racial minorities, the poor, the sick, the elderly and individuals with disabilities, but also completely limits both choice and autonomy in ways such as these:
- It is the doctor, not the patient, who decides if the patient is eligible for assisted suicide.
- A patient may not have the capacity to make a real choice if they are depressed and untreated, or they believe they are a burden.
- A patient’s heir can witness the written request for the lethal drugs. This situation creates the potential for coercion and abuse.
- It is an insurance company or governmental entity that determines whether a patient will receive payment for treatment of a disease or the less-costly lethal drugs. This is not a choice.
- There is no guarantee that the lethal drugs are taken by choice. A greedy family member or an abusive caregiver could easily administer the lethal, water and alcohol soluble drugs without the patient’s knowledge.
The American Society of Medical Ethics, Not Dead Yet, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington, and DC Council for Independent Living are just some of the groups who oppose this legislation. Please join them by: