Update: D.C. City Council Approves Death with Dignity Act

November 15, 2016

The Center for Inquiry is glad to report that the Council of the District of Columbia today voted 11-2 to pass the Death With Dignity Act. 

The Death With Dignity Act will allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults with six months or fewer to live to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician, and establish procedures for making these requests. It was sponsored by Mary Cheh (Ward 3) and opposed by Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1) and Yvette Alexander (Ward 7). 

CFI firmly believes terminally ill patients of sound mind have a right to determine whether to prolong or end their life, and strongly supports legislation that authorizes physician-assisted dying. You can read our earlier policy alert on this particular bill here.

The Act now goes to the desk of Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is not expected to veto it. D.C. would join six states that have authorized physician-assisted dying: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, and Colorado.

However, Congress has power to overturn D.C. laws, and we expect that the incoming 115th United States Congress will try to overturn this Act. 

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