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.