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AMA Refutes Own Council Recommendation to Oppose Assisted Suicide

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June 15, 2018

On Monday, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates voted not to affirm the report of its Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) to maintain opposition to assisted suicide and sent the report back to committee for further review.  

The CEJA report, online forum and Reference Committee all recommended that the AMA maintain its position in opposition to assisted suicide.   In spite of those recommendations, the House of Delegates voted 56%-44% for further study. 

In the interim, the AMA remains opposed to assisted suicide, absent a vote to actually change the position.  There will likely be another debate at the next annual meeting in June of 2019. 

“The American Medical Association’s decision to not confirm their own Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs' recommendation – namely that they maintain their opposition to assisted suicide  - does not take into account that this bad public policy puts vulnerable patients at high risk for coercion, mistakes and even abuse,” said Matt Vallière, executive director of Patients Rights Action Fund. “Although the AMA’s opposition position still stands for now, a referral back to CEJA is a lost opportunity and a failure to stand against a policy that has grave consequences for everyone, but especially persons living with illness, disabilities, or socio-economic disadvantage. Assisted suicide is not medical care.”