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12/24/2016 11:40:00 AM
D.C. mayor signs assisted suicide bill
Congress now must review it
D.C. Mayor's Office
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed an assisted-suicide bill.
D.C. Mayor's Office
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser has signed an assisted-suicide bill.
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser Dec. 20 signed into law a bill allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medications to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.

Congress has to approve all laws in the district and has 30 days to review it. The earliest the law could take effect is October.

On a voice vote Nov. 15, a majority of the 13-member District of Columbia City Council approved the "Death with Dignity Act" that permits physicians in the District of Columbia to legally prescribe the drugs to patients who have been deemed mentally competent and who have received a terminal diagnosis of six months or less.

After the vote, Michael Scott, director of the D.C. Catholic Conference, blasted the council's decision. "Once again council members who voted for the legislation failed to address serious public policy concerns raised by the broad and diverse coalition opposing the legislation," he said in a statement.

Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette M. Alexander, chairperson of the Health and Human Service Committee, and Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau offered the only votes opposing the measure. There was no discussion of the legislation.

Prior to the vote, the council approved an amendment proposed by Alexander that requires the Department of Health to include data from all patients who submit written or oral requests for the lethal medication in an annual statistical report. Prior to the amendment, the legislation only required that the report include data from a sample of information sent by doctors.

If the law takes effect, the district would be the nation's seventh jurisdiction to allow doctors to assist the terminally ill to kill themselves. Five states -- Vermont, Oregon, Washington state, Montana and New Mexico -- previously allowed assisted suicide. On Nov. 8, Colorado residents approved a proposition legalizing physician-assisted suicide there.

Similar physician-assisted suicide laws have been introduced and have failed in 22 states.

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2016
Article comment by: Bradley Williams

Correction please: Here is the rest of the story.
Your source has done you a disservice. The promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our MT Supreme Court did ruled that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The MT Supreme Court acknowledged it is a homicide in the ruling.

The Court did not address civil liabilities and they vacated the lower courtís claim that it was a constitutional right. Unlike Oregon no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution, death certificates are not legally falsified and investigations are not prohibited like in OR, WA and CA. Does that sound legal to you? Does that sound shielded to you?

Perhaps the promoters are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Your source has done the public a disservice. Their ordinary bait and switch campaign is demonstrated by their selling "must self-administer" then they do not provide in their legislation for an ordinary witness of the "self-administration".
The difference is that a witness would honor individual rights and choices, without a witness it allows euthanasia. If the individual changed their mind no one would ever know. And we know that 30% do change their mind according to Oregon's records
This omission eviscerates the flaunted safeguards putting the entire population at risk of exploitation by the medical-industrial-complex, organ traffickers and predatory heirs.
All of Oregon model laws/bills including DC and Colorado's non transparent Prop 106 simply allow forced euthanasia. Welcome to the Oregon experience.
Respectfully submitted,
Bradley Williams
Mtaas dot org

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