DC Mayor signs assisted suicide bill

By Dave Andrusko

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

I’m not sure how I ever got on their mailing list but there it was under the headline in gigantic typeface: “Victory.”

Compassion and Choices–the formerly named Hemlock Society–boldly and happily announced that “D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser Signs Death with Dignity Act.” We read

“We are very grateful to Mayor Bowser and the D.C. Council for honoring their constituents’ wishes by enacting this legislation,” said Donna Smith, D.C. field and legislative manager for Compassion & Choices. “Every terminally ill adult should have the freedom and liberty to make their own decisions about how they want to die in comfort and peace, in consultation with their family, physicians and spiritual leaders.”

We may never know Bowser’s personal opinion about the wisdom of unleashing the assisted suicide juggernaut. Back in October the Washington Post wrote

Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) has not taken a position, although her appointed health director has testified against the bill.

But once the measure squeaked through the Committee on Health and Human Services on a 3-2 vote, it quickly became clear the Council was overwhelmingly in favor of B21-38. Indeed the level of support made the bill veto-proof.

Bowser pushed for two amendments. Her staff “offered amendments that would allow the city’s health department to offer training for physicians and to provide patients with information about various lethal drugs and their side effects,” according to the Post.

What we do know is that there was much opposition from the city’s large African-American community, as we reported previously. DC was the beachhead for the pro-assisted suicide which is disproportionately composed of affluent white people.

Take this illuminating quote from a Post story that ran in October :

Across the country, some of the most high-profile representatives of the right-to-die movement have been white, including the terminally ill California woman Brittany Maynard who publicized her decision to end her life on widely viewed YouTube videos and in national media appearances.

Most of the demonstrators at a recent rally outside the D.C. Council building for the “Death with Dignity” legislation were white.

“They are not people who look me,” said Leona Redmond, a 64-year-old longtime District community activist who has been organizing other African American seniors against the legislation.

Compassion and Choices is feeling its oats. On November 8, Colorado voters approved Proposition 106, known as the “End of Life Options Act” which will legalize assisted suicide.

Colorado becomes the 5th state to legalize the dangerous practice joining California, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont. Additionally, the Supreme Court of Montana allows a doctor to raise the defense that a person consented, if prosecuted or sued for assisting in a suicide.

“This bill, which passed roughly 2-1, faced opposition from a wide variety of groups including disability rights activists, several medical groups, right to life groups, and many others,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics. “After long and thoughtful hearings this year and last, the Colorado legislature voted to reject nearly identical proposals as being too dangerous.

“Unfortunately, voters chose otherwise.”

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