On Physician Assisted Suicide
The Supportive Care Coalition opposes public policy that advances the legalization of physician-assisted suicide. This position is grounded in our respect for the sacredness of human life, our long tradition of caring for persons who are most vulnerable, our commitment to the provision of high quality palliative care and our concern for the integrity of medical, nursing and allied health professionals.
We promote public policy that will improve and expand access to and implementation/delivery of high-quality palliative and end-of-life care services. Palliative care anticipates the physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of persons living with advanced serious illness and addresses their suffering.
To read more, see the link below:
The National Coalition of Hospice and Palliative Care Organization on “Legally Accelerated Death”
The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO) issued a statement on physician assisted suicide (using the terminology “legally accelerated dying” or LAD) stating, “as palliative care ‘intends to neither hasten nor postpone death,’ LAD is not a palliative intervention. In light of the underuse of hospice and palliative care to alleviate suffering, lack of comprehensive health care for persons with serious illness, lack of research about the outcomes of LAD, concerns of disability rights advocates regarding protections from coercion, longstanding racial bias in medicine, disparities in health and medical care, and lack of protections to ensure voluntary participation, NHPCO opposes LAD as a societal option.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on Physician-Assisted Suicide
In April 2019, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a statement titled, “Assisted Suicide Laws in Oregon and Washington: What Safeguards?” outlining concerns about the lack of protections for vulnerable patients in current physician-assisted suicide legislation.
J.J. Hanson, diagnosed with terminal cancer at 32 years old, devoted his time to advocating for the protection of other terminally ill or disabled people who he believed would be harmed by the legalization of assisted-suicide. Watch J.J. and his wife describe their vision for improved palliative and hospice care here:
Farr Curlin on Physician-Assisted Dying: The Antithesis of Medicine
(Free registration required)
Richard Doerflinger of the Charlotte Lozier Institute on Physician-Assisted Suicide: The Path to Active Euthanasia
Read the report written in response to the June 2018 meeting of the American Medical Association where the organization’s stance on physician-assisted suicide was debated on by the House of Delegates.
Listen to the story of the Alvarez family -- discussing the choice of assisted suicide while so many still lack access to basic health care; nurse practitioner, Cecilia Sone, on the importance of upholding the dignity of life; Luke Maxwell on how assisted suicide may encouraged depressed individuals to complete suicide; the implicit messages assisted-suicide conveys to those living with disabilities; one woman who changed her mind after requesting a lethal prescription to end her life; and Maggie living with terminal cancer, facing her death with faith and dignity.
Journal of General Internal Medicine: Physician-Assisted Suicide: Why Neutrality by Organized Medicine Is Neither Neutral Nor Appropriate (subscription only)
The American Medical Association Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs recently reaffirmed their opposition to physician-assisted suicide in a report that will be brought to a vote at the next Annual Meeting of the AMA.
Dr. Brian Callister at a news conference held by Second Thoughts Connecticut prior to the public hearing on HB 5417, legislation to legalize assisted suicide in Connecticut.
In 2018, 19 states defeated bills or initiatives to legalize or expand assisted suicide by outright votes, inaction
or withdrawal. To read the summary from the Patient Right's Action Fund, see the link below:
Dr. Ira Byock in Stat News:
Position statement from the American College of Physicians:
Recent articles on physician assisted suicide from a special issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice: