By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
The American Medical Association Policy 5.7 on assisted suicide currently states:
Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.
Instead of engaging in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life.
• Should not abandon a patient once it is determined that cure is impossible.
• Must respect patient autonomy.
• Must provide good communication and emotional support.
• Must provide appropriate comfort care and adequate pain control.
At the Interim meeting of the AMA House of Delegates on November 10 – 14, 2023 in Maryland, 50 draft resolutions will be debated. Two of the draft resolutions will concern assisted suicide and euthanasia.
· Resolution 4 is to change the position of the AMA on Medical Aid in Dying.
· Resolution 5 is for the AMA to adopt a neutral stance on Medical Aid in Dying.
It is important to note that Resolution 4 would remove the AMA statement on not performing euthanasia or participating in assisted suicide:
Physicians must not perform euthanasia or participate in assisted suicide. A more careful examination of the issue is necessary. Support, comfort, respect for patient autonomy, good communication, and adequate pain control may decrease dramatically the public demand for euthanasia and assisted suicide. In certain carefully defined circumstances, it would be humane to recognize that death is certain and suffering is great. However, the societal risks of involving physicians in medical interventions to cause patients’ deaths is too great in this culture to condone euthanasia or physician- assisted suicide at this time.
Both resolutions use the term Medical Aid in Dying (MAiD) rather than Physician Assisted Suicide. The term Medical Aid in Dying is not limited to assisted suicide, it also includes euthanasia. The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize euthanasia (medical homicide) in America.
Both resolutions need to be vigorously opposed. The assisted suicide lobby likely introduced both resolutions to create the impression that Resolution 5 (adopting a neutral stance on Medical Aid in Dying) is a compromise resolution, whereas, both resolutions will effectively lead to the same outcome.
Editor’s note. This appears on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and reposted with permission.