Today, the D.C. Council Health and Human Services Committee voted to advance B-21-38 (the so-called “Death with Dignity Act”), which would legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in the nation’s capital.
LifeNews.com reported that a broad coalition of D.C. residents including members of the disability community, medical professionals, faith groups, and Beltway Right to Life, were involved in lobbying members of the committee in opposing the legislation prior to today’s vote.
The bill is scheduled to be considered by the full Council on October 18th. Residents of the District of Columbia may contact their council members here to urge them to oppose B-21-38.
Opponents of the bill believe it discriminates against racial and ethnic minorities, the poor and elderly, and individuals with disabilities.
Melissa Ortiz, founder of Able Americans, told Live Action News:
The most interesting thing to me about this whole scenario is that the people who are pushing for the “death with dignity” aren’t afraid of dying at all and they are afraid of being in pain. They are afraid of things that people with disabilities face every single day… A loss of independence, fatigue, being seen as a burden, and things like that. I find it interesting that the very council members who sponsored a suicide prevention Bill specifically aimed at youth and with people with disabilities are now supporting this measure that will take the lives of people with disabilities and people who are chronically ill. We need to focus on making the most of every single moment that we have left when faced with a terminal diagnosis instead of trying to figure out a way to end things faster.
The bill requires no mental health screening, which would make it possible for individuals struggling with depression to choose to end their own life through assisted suicide. The bill also does not require that any relatives be notified of the decision, and there is no notice to family or friends. Doctors and medical personnel are not allowed to be present; neither does the bill take into account possible misdiagnosis. Perhaps most disturbing is that the bill prescribes no course of action to report abuse of the measure.
For more information on the legislation, visit www.nodcsuicide.org.