Urgent: Demand That Congress Protect D.C.‘s Death With Dignity Act

February 15, 2017

In November, the Council of the District of Columbia approved a bill to allow medical aid in dying. Now, some members of Congress are trying to overturn the law — and the Center for Inquiry (CFI) needs your help to defend this important policy achievement.

D.C.’s Death With Dignity Act allows terminally ill, mentally competent adults to choose the time and manner of their own death by requesting life-ending medication from their physician, and to establish procedures for making these requests. Two-thirds of D.C. residents approve of the Act, and the D.C. Council approved the Act twice, each time by a vote of 11-2, before Mayor Muriel Bowser signed it into law.

In doing so, D.C. joined six states across the U.S. — California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont — that provide people who are terminally ill the option of meeting their death on their own terms, so that they can spare themselves and their families needless suffering.

But members of Congress who consider their religious beliefs regarding the “sanctity of life” more important than the autonomy of individual Americans have introduced resolutions in the House (H.J. Res. 27) and the Senate (S.J. Res. 4) that would block this Act from being implemented. These resolutions must pass both chambers of Congress and receive President Trump’s signature by February 17, or else the Act remains standing.

That’s where you come in. We at the Center for Inquiry firmly believe terminally ill patients of sound mind have a right to determine whether to prolong or end their life, and strongly support legislation that authorizes medical aid in dying. At the end of a person’s life, no one else’s religious views should affect their medical care, including how or when they choose to die. Our lives don’t belong to any church, politician, or cultural tradition. Our lives are our own.

If you agree, we urge you to join us in opposing these resolutions by calling and writing your members of Congress right now and telling them to support the District of Columbia’s right to approve and implement the Death With Dignity Act!

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