September 21, 2016

URGENT - Contact the American Medical Association about Opposing Assisted Suicide

For decades, the official position of the AMA has been to oppose the legalization of assisted suicide.   The AMA will have an interim meeting to discuss its policy on assisted suicide in November 2016.  At its July 2017 annual meeting, the AMA will consider taking a “neutral” position which essentially sends a green light to the states that legalizing assisted suicide is acceptable.   It is imperative that the AMA retain and affirm its current position.  

Who to contact:
Dr. Andrew W. Gurman, MD, AMA President,
330 N Wabash, Ste 43482
Chicago IL 60611-5885
312.464.5618 ph
312.464.4094 fx

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

What to Say:

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.   A patient in pain should find a new doctor.

• Oregon is proof that general public suicides rise dramatically 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.

What Not to Say:

• Do not use religious or right-to-life arguments or language

• Do not invoke Nazi Germany

• Do not use experiences in the Netherlands or other European countries