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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Action Alert: Urge the AMA to Reaffirm Opposition to Assisted Suicide

Source: Not Dead Yet

For decades, the official position of the American Medical Association (AMA) has been to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide (Policy 140.952Policy 270.965). The AMA will have an interim meeting to discuss its policy on assisted suicide Nov. 12-15, at Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin, Orlando, Florida. At its July 2017 annual meeting, the AMA will consider taking a “neutral” position, which would essentially send a green light to the states that legalizing assisted suicide is acceptable to physicians who are among our most important allies in opposing such a public policy. It is imperative that the AMA retain and affirm its current position.

Please send your own letter and ask your doctors to send a letter as well. 

Who to Contact:

Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, MD:
AMA President
330 N Wabash, Ste. 43482
Chicago IL 60611-5885
Phone: 312.464.5618
Fax: 312.464.4094

Bette Crigger, PhD:
Secretary, Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs
American Medical Association
330 N Wabash, Ste. 43482
Chicago IL 60611-5885
Phone: 312.464.5223
Fax: 312.224.6911

What to Say:

(Select one or more of the following statements and re-word or add your own thoughts.)

The AMA should retain its longstanding position in opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide because:

  • Medical professionals should focus on the true nature of their profession – to provide care and comfort to patients – instead of becoming a source of lethal drugs. I would not want my doctor to have this power and suggest it to me as an “option.”
  • Will the government and profit-driven insurance companies do the right thing – pay for treatment costing thousands of dollars – or the cheap thing – pay for lethal drugs costing hundreds of dollars? Patients in Oregon and California have been denied payment for treatment and offered lethal drugs instead.
  • Assisted suicide is a recipe for elder and disability abuse. A relative who is an heir to the patient’s estate or an abusive caregiver can pick up the lethal drugs and administer them without the patient’s knowledge or consent. There is no oversight and no witnesses are required once the lethal drugs leave the pharmacy.
  • Everyone knows someone who has been misdiagnosed or outlived a terminal diagnosis.
  • Wanting to die because of depression is treatable. Millions of people are living proof.
  • Everyone agrees that dying in pain is unacceptable, and it is also unnecessary. A patient in pain should be referred to a palliative care specialist or find a new doctor.
  • Oregon is proof that general public suicides rise once assisted suicide is promoted as a “good.”
  • My family member could die from taking lethal drugs and I wouldn’t know about it until he/she is dead — no family notification is required in advance.

[Editor’s Note: Thanks to the Patients Rights Action Fund for the information in this urgent alert!]

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