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.
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."
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