Victory! Doctors Can Provide Better Care for Patients Than Assisted Suicide

May 15

By Autumn Leva, VP of Strategy for Family Policy Alliance

The American Medical Association (AMA) has had a longstanding position against legalizing assisted suicide because it is “fundamentally incompatibly with the physician’s role as healer.” Instead, the AMA rightly guides its physicians nationwide to “aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life.”

In other words, the AMA supports what we all believe—every life is worth fighting for. And, no one should be abandoned to the hopelessness and lack of true compassion found in assisted suicide. Suicide always comes with a type of “giving up,” and American families don’t want the professionals they trust with their very lives to be in the business of “giving up” on them.

Last year, political activists pushing to legalize assisted suicide pressured the AMA into considering changing their position opposing assisted suicide. The AMA referred the matter to their Ethics committee to compile data, research, and feedback from people like you across the country to help them make their decision.

Family Policy Alliance, our state-based allies, and Focus on the Family joined together to send the AMA two letters asking the AMA to maintain their position opposing assisted suicide and to refuse to allow a form of suicide to be considered “care” for a patient. The letter shared with the AMA many of the points made by Dr. Bolthouse in this video about what assisted suicide means for the medical community. Thousands of you also signed onto the letter to the AMA!

And good news—the AMA’s Ethics Committee listened!

Last week, the AMA’s Ethics Committee produced a report after all their fact-finding on assisted suicide. They ultimately recommend that the AMA continue to oppose assisted suicide—and that doctors continue to work with patients to understand their goals and what brings them meaning at the end of life, and to explore legally available options for care. When the AMA meets in June, the Ethics Committee will present their report and conclusion.

Thank you to all of you who joined in asking America’s doctors to choose caring over killing! This is especially important as we see what is happening in other countries with legal assisted suicide. Switzerland has become the “final tour destination” where assisted suicide is legal for anyone who requests it in writing—not just those diagnosed with “terminal illnesses.” This raises serious questions about pressures that the elderly or frail may face to prematurely end their lives.

Even in the U.S. states that have legalized assisted suicide, men and women have reported insurance companies already declining to cover treatment for serious illnesses like cancer but instead offering to cover the far cheaper assisted suicide drugs—leaving patients with no real choice or hope.

Thank you again for partnering with us to send the letters to the AMA. We thank God that the AMA agreed that every life is worth fighting for! We ask that you continue to join with us in praying that our doctors will continue to stand strong against political pressure. And, we hope you will also join us in working to advance policies in every state that value life and reject suicide.