Physicians’ Group Warns AAFP Is Advocating for Assisted Suicide

In a recent email update from the American Academy of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, AAPLOG warned of a recent move by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The AAFP, one of the largest groups within the AMA [American Medical Association], is now advocating for and, pushing for AMA to accept, Physician Assisted Suicide  (see AAFP reference committee report)  AAFP members should make their voice known NOW to AAFP  (also here for local chapters) and call for reevaluation and repeal of that recommendation.

Hippocratic physicians should also pay close attention to the situation in Canada, recently forcing all Canadian physicians to perform or refer for physician assisted suicide.  This decision was imposed on Canadian physicians through a Supreme Court decision, and not by public referendum, much as abortion was forced on the US population via Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton.  As is clear in both Ireland and Canada,  referral is a professional participation in the activity referred for.   Hippocratic physicians will not perform or refer for the destruction of their patients.

Please, take the time to click through on the links. Then, if you’ve entrusted your family’s medical care to physicians who are members of AAFP, you might want to ask them if AAFP is speaking for them.

I see this on the same day as I’ve listened to Kristen Hansen of the Patients Rights Action Fund speak about the illness and death of her husband, J.J. Hansen, and how they worked together to oppose assisted suicide as a way of coping with terminal illness. She carries on that life-affirming message even now. What a contrast to what some doctors are supporting.

The AAFP recommendation calls for treating assisted suicide as an ethical decision to be made within the doctor-patient relationship – meaning no oversight and accountability – and it calls for legal shielding of any physician participating in assisted suicide. It also calls for abandoning the term “assisted suicide” in favor of the term “medical aid in dying.”

Think about that last bit. Now you know what language will be in the next assisted suicide bill in New Hampshire. None is in the works, but that could change with the next round of legislative service requests.

And then there’s this from AAFP: they are resolved to be “neutral” on medical aid in dying.

Kind of like the New Hampshire Medical Society is neutral on abortion – “we take no position,” assures the kindly NHMS lobbyist – while showing up to oppose bills like informed consent and prevention of coerced abortions.

During one such hearing last year, the kindly NHMS doctor sighed and told the committee that he was afraid there were some people in the room who didn’t trust doctors.

If he thinks some people don’t trust physicians now, wait until assisted suicide enters the picture.

Palliative care can be complex – far more complex than a single prescription. Having a chronic disability means complex arrangements for appropriate support. Killing is always cheaper than caring. When assisted suicide is legally available, whoever’s paying the bills won’t have much incentive to encourage the use of palliative care by people facing a terminal diagnosis or supportive care for people with disabilities.

The AMA as a whole hasn’t caved in, yet. AAFP is only one group within the association. The Patients Rights Action Fund reported a bit of encouraging news just this week: the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs has recommended that the AMA continue to oppose assisted suicide.

Find more life-affirming inspiration in videos from the Patients Rights Action Fund.

She Said It: Ellinor Grimmark

”As a midwife, I want to exercise a profession which defends life and saves lives at all cost. Are healthcare practitioners in Sweden to be forced to take part in procedures that extinguish life, at its beginning or final stages? Somebody has to take the little children’s side, somebody has to fight for their right to life. A midwife described to me how she had held an aborted baby in her arms, still alive, and cried desperately for an hour while the baby struggled to breathe. These children do not even have a right to pain relief. I cannot take part in this.” 

Ellinor Grimmark (photo: Frederik Persson/TT, reproduced in

Ellinor Grimmark is a Swedish nurse who refuses to participate in abortions. She has been denied employment by three clinics because of that conscientious objection. A Swedish court ruled earlier this month against her conscience rights. Read more at and

“Stop the presses”: reposted from

I don’t think I’ve ever before linked to a blogger’s post about two other writers who wrote about yet another blogger. (Still with me?) This gets my seal of approval, though, and I offer it for your consideration. The writer is astute, funny, compassionate, and right on target. (originally posted 1/13/14)

This one post manages to braid together several strands of thought for the culture-of-life tapestry.

  • There’s more than one “pro-life” way to face serious and ultimately terminal illness.
  • There’s always a meter running when someone gets cancer therapy.
  • There’s always someone to tell you you’re doing it wrong, whether “it” is living or suffering or dying.
  • Writers for the New York Times are at their peril when they pick on bloggers. OK, maybe I’m going too far with “pick on.” But it sure is fun to see a spirited comeback.


Hippocrates has left the building

A bit of an online war has erupted among people I consider Pro-Life Friendlies in Texas over a pending bill there. Details of the bill don’t concern me here. Medical ethics are involved, however, and that brings up something that drives me nuts: references to the Hippocratic Oath. As in, doctors take the Oath and therefore shouldn’t be involved in euthanasia or abortion.

Of course they shouldn’t. The Hippocratic Oath isn’t the reason, though. Many medical schools no longer use that oath, and I must believe that one reason is that this line just doesn’t square with medical politics: “I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.”

How positively pre-1973.

Fear not, however. The American Medical Association is on the case. From the AMA’s Principles of Medical Ethics: “The Principles of Medical Ethics of the AMA do not prohibit a physician from performing an abortion in accordance with good medical practice and under circumstances that do not violate the law.”

That doesn’t even address ethics for nurses, medical assistants, and other people (some of whom do not have medical training; see Abby Johnson’s Unplanned) who assist with abortions. For doctors, Hippocrates is in the rearview mirror. For other abortion practitioners, he was never in sight.

Challenging abortion practitioners on the basis of that Oath assumes a context that simply doesn’t exist. There are stronger, more persuasive arguments to be made, starting with biology and embryology.