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Washington DC legalises assisted suicide

21 February 2017


Sponsored by Democrat Mary M. Cheh, the Death With Dignity Act originally passed by an 11-2 vote. Image: Associated Press

Washington DC has become the seventh jurisdiction in the US to legalise assisted suicide, after Republican attempts to block it failed.

The Death with Dignity Act went into effect on Saturday, after the US Congress failed to overturn it, the Washington Times reports.

The Act was first passed by an 11-2 vote in November 2016. Under the federal Home Rule Act, a disapproval resolution passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president within 30 legislative days would have blocked the law from taking effect.The Oversight Committee voted 22-14 to cancel the assisted suicide law, but the resolution was not brought to the House floor for a vote.

"Dangerous, unethical and unnecessary"

Washington DC follows California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, and Montana in allowing assisted suicide.

The law is modelled on that in force in Oregon, which Care not Killing has described as "dangerous, unethical and unnecessary".

Opposition from African Americans 

Among the fiercest opponents of assisted suicide in Washington DC are representatives of the African American community, who have consistently stood against it in nationwide surveys. Leona Redmond, a community activist, voiced concerns that low-income black senior citizens may be steered to an early death. "It’s really aimed at old black people. It really is," she said. 

Trivialising life 

Rep. Jody B. Hice, a Georgia Republican, earlier said that the law is a symptom of society’s increasing disregard for human life.

"It’s amazing to me how we have become a society that so trivialises life, as though it’s something that is not important or something that can be snuffed away," Mr. Hice said. "This bill, the dignity bill, is not about sick and dying. At the end of the day, it’s about legalising suicide. It’s an enormous step toward normalising euthanasia. It’s a huge step toward a continued march of trivialising life."

News in brief:

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Comments (2)
  • Bradley Williams

    21 February 2017, 9:35pm

    What else haven't they told you for convenience of their promotion?
    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 court’s 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. No show in 2017.

    Amending Colorado's Prop 106 is sorely needed (and OR,WA,CA). The initiative was bought for $8,000,000 of deception. Even as they proclaimed that the poison must be self administered they did not provide for an ordinary witness. The difference is that without a witness it allows forced euthanasia but with a witness they would up hold individual choice.

    Amendments would include requiring a witness to the self administration, restore the illegality of falsifying the death certificate require the posting of the poison applied in the medical record for the sake of good stewardship for future studies, register organ/tissue trafficking, reveal commissions and memorials paid to the corporate facilitators and keep all records for transparent public safety policy.
    Bradley Williams
    President
    MTaas org

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  • ANN FARMER

    21 February 2017, 10:24pm

    Death marches on. What would George Washington have made of it?

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