DC residents must contact Council members following committee vote in favor of assisted suicide

By Dave Andrusko

Members of Beltway Right to Life attend Advocacy Day against doctor-prescribed suicide in D.C.

Members of Beltway Right to Life attend Advocacy Day against doctor-prescribed suicide in D.C.

As National Right to Life’s Andrew Bair reported Wednesday, the District of Columbia’s five-member Committee on Health and Human Services, by the narrowest of margins, voted in favor of “The D.C. Death With Dignity Act of 2015,” said to be modeled after Oregon’s assisted suicide law.

The 3-2 vote came after the primary instigator of B-21-38, Compassion & Choices, the primary nation-wide promoter of this kind of lethal legislation, had vigorously lobbied council members. The full council could consider the measure, introduced by D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), as early as October 18.

Not surprisingly, Dan Diaz was among members of Compassion & Choices lobbying the committee. Diaz is the widower of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer, whose “assisted suicide” was used as a lever to persuade California to pass its own assisted suicide law.

According to the Washington Post

Council members Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) and Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7) objected to the legislation. Nadeau said she feared low-income people who have less access to health care would be pushed to end their lives early, while Alexander said voters should have a say on the matter through a ballot initiative, as in Oregon and Washington.

“Given the nature of this bill being a life-or-death issue, I believe this matter is best left to the decision of the residents,” Alexander said.

As local news accounts pointed out, DCs’s next door neighbor, the state of Maryland, is the next target. Similar laws have been defeated there but pro-death forces are nothing if not indefatigable [here and here].

The Post did publish an op-ed prior to the vote: “D.C. is about to vote on physician-assisted death. Here’s why it’s dangerous.“  The op-ed, by a doctor and a theologian, was helpful in addressing some of the many concerns raised by opponents of a measure they see as putting the bullseye on patients with disabilities, the medically frail elderly, the poor, and members of minority communities.

Mr. Bair’s story outlined seven different ways the bill is dangerous to city residents.

It is imperative that D.C. residents contact their council members and urge them to oppose B-21-38.