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Posted on June 14, 2018 at 8:57 AM

Compassion & Choices urged Congress to reject a policy rider attached to a
government funding bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee late
Wednesday night that would repeal the D.C. Death with Dignity Act. 

The policy rider is part of the Financial Services and General Government
Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019 that starts on Oct. 1, 2018
.

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.

“Opponents of medical aid in dying should
give up imposing their values on D.C. residents and focus on the issues
impacting their constituents,” said Kim Callinan, CEO for Compassion &
Choices, which led the campaign to pass the D.C. Death with Dignity Act.
“Despite their efforts, the D.C. law remains in effect, and we are working
closely with the D.C. Department of Health to make it easier for terminally ill
patients to access the law.”

In addition to Washington, D.C., medical aid in dying has
been authorized in seven states: Colorado, Hawai‘i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont,
Washington, and California. However, the 
California law currently is facing a legal challenge based on a
technicality. Collectively, these eight jurisdictions represent nearly one out
of five Americans (19%) and have 40 years of combined experience safely using
this end-of-life care option.

“Members of Congress from the seven
states with medical aid-in-dying laws would be hypocrites if they supported
this policy rider when their constituents have this end-of-life care option to
peacefully end unbearable suffering,” said Callinan. “We cannot allow this
federal power grab to succeed or it will spur efforts to try to ban medical
aid-in-dying laws 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, 2017Polling 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 nearly 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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