Advocates Slam House Subcommittee’s Approval of Rider to Repeal D.C. Death with Dignity Act

June 22, 2023
Donna smith

Donna Smith, D.C. Campaign Director, Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices criticized a House Appropriations subcommittee for passing a D.C. spending bill Thursday with an unrelated policy rider that would repeal the D.C. Death with Dignity Act and prevent the D.C. Council from passing it again in the future. The Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government approved the spending bill with the policy rider and nine other anti-D.C. Home Rule policy riders by voice vote (see page 6 of bill summary and page 209 of bill text).

“The subcommittee’s approval of this anti-D.C. Home Rule rider to repeal the D.C. Death with Dignity Act and prevent the D.C. Council from passing it in the future is an unjust attack on the bodily autonomy of terminally ill D.C. residents,” said Donna Smith, campaign director for Compassion & Choices, which led the 2015-2016 campaign to pass the law and to defend against prior congressional attacks on the law. “We strongly support D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton’s leadership in making it her top-listed priority to remove this outrageous policy rider with no business being attached to a spending bill.”

“The D.C. Council approved the Death with Dignity Act that authorizes medical aid in dying for terminally ill adults by a veto-proof 11-2 vote because D.C. residents want this option to peacefully end unbearable suffering at the end of life. We urge members of Congress whose dying loved ones have either benefitted from this option because they live in one of the 10 states where medical aid in dying also is authorized–or suffered needlessly without this option–to help us fight this unjust power grab.”

In addition to Washington, D.C., the 10 states where medical aid in dying is authorized as an end-of-life care option are: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

2021 survey by a top-rated, multi-state pollster, Susquehanna Polling & Research, shows two out of three U.S. residents (67%) personally want the option of medical aid in dying to peacefully end intolerable suffering at the end of life, including 68% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats, and at least six out of 10 Americans (61%-79%) in all six regions of the country.

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