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Posted on May 24, 2018 at 10:03 PM

Compassion & Choices urged Congress to reject a policy rider to a
government funding bill approved by a House Subcommittee today that would repeal D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act (see policy rider on
page 165). 



The House Financial Services Subcommittee today approved the policy
rider as part of the fiscal year 2019 Financial Services and General Government
appropriations bill.



Similar to laws in
seven states, the
D.C. Death with Dignity Act gives mentally
capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to
get prescription medication they can take to end unbearable suffering and die
peacefully in their sleep.



Congressional
opponents of medical aid in dying tried to repeal the law in
February 2017 during a 30
legislative day review period
and during last year’s appropriations
process
, but they failed both times.



“It’s time for
opponents of medical aid in dying to recognize that this issue has been debated
and decided,” said Kim Callinan, CEO for Compassion & Choices, which led
the campaign to pass the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. “The important news for
D.C. residents is the law remains in effect, and we are working collaboratively
with the D.C. Department of Health to make it easier for terminally ill
patients to access the law.



Medical
aid in dying has been practiced safely with no evidence of misuse for more than
40 combined years in seven states representing nearly one-fifth (19%) of the
nation’s population: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California,
Colorado, and Hawaii.



“Members
of Congress from these states would be hypocrites if they supported this policy
rider when their own constituents have this palliative care option to
peacefully end unbearable suffering,” said Callinan. “If this federal power
grab succeeds, it will set a dangerous precedent that could embolden
congressional opponents to try to ban medical aid in dying nationwide.”



The D.C. Council approved the Death with
Dignity Act on Nov. 15, 2016
by a veto-proof 11-2 margin and the law went into effect on February 18,
2017
. Polling shows
two-thirds of D.C. residents (67%) support medical aid in dying.



Medscape online survey shows
7,500 doctors nationwide from 25 medical specialties nationwide support medical
aid in dying by a 2-1 margin (57% to 29%).



National and state polls show a majority of Americans
across the ethnic, political and religious spectrum support medical aid in
dying
. This majority includes African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos,
conservatives, Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents, liberals, moderates,
Republicans/Republican-leaning independents, Catholics, Christians, Protestants,
people of other faiths, and people living with disabilities.

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