The American Medical Association's (AMA) original position on the topic was established in 1993, before the enactment of any laws in the U.S. allowing the practice. So at its meeting in National Harbor, Maryland starting Friday, the AMA is being asked to adopt two related resolutions and recognize medical aid in dying as a clinical practice.
"Right now, the American Medical Association's Code of Ethics states that assisted suicide is incompatible with the physician's role as a healer and would be difficult or impossible to control and would impose serious societal risks," Dr. Jeffrey Barrows of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations details.
Assisted suicide, he says, invades patients' dignity and is harmful to them and their families, as it often causes division.
"It's also harmful to medicine," the physician adds. "It destroys the foundation of trust between a patient and their healthcare professional, and it changes medicine from a helping and healing profession to a killing profession."
If the AMA adopts this neutral position, he warns that it will encourage state legislatures to proceed with passing assisted suicide into law.
"So, this change in the AMA policy is critical, and we are adamantly opposed to it," Dr. Barrows tells AFN.