Source: Washington Times
Earlier this year, legislation was introduced to the D.C. Council that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in our nation’s capital for an adult patient diagnosed with a terminal condition and less than six months to live. Although this initiative has been introduced in 24 states this year (not passing in any so far), its passage in the District of Columbia this year risks setting a dangerous precedent for the rest of the nation.
Self-determination and pain relief are the primary arguments by proponents of physician-assisted suicide. These principles of autonomy and beneficence are clearly important in discussions at the end of life. But can this specific piece of legislation protect those who need it the most, such as those with mental illness, and those easily subject to coercion, such as seniors? As a practicing physician for the past 25 years and based on the experience of similar practices around the world, I have serious concerns with this bill.