The American Medical Association (AMA) has wrapped up its annual meeting where, as AFN recently reported, two issues related to doctor-assisted suicide were on the docket. Dr. Jeff Barrows of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) attended the conference and helped fight against the two measures.
"The good news is that Resolution: 005, the resolution that would change the AMA's official position on assisted suicide, was defeated," he relays. "The AMA will maintain their official position of being opposed to assisted suicide."
Resolution: 004 to change the terminology from "physician-assisted suicide" to "medical aid in dying" (MAID), was adopted, but the AMA's Board of Trustees has not yet approved that, which means it is not yet fully decided.
"If I had to have one of the two resolutions that I would want to have … opposed and be defeated would be the one that we were successful in defeating," Dr. Barrows says. "It's so critical that the AMA remain opposed to the issue of assisted suicide."
In 2016, Canada's courts started down the "slippery slope" of physician-assisted suicide by legalizing the practice for terminally ill patients. The MAID policy was then loosened in 2021 to include people suffering from chronic pain, and starting early next year, mentally ill patients can request a doctor's help in ending their own lives.
MAID proponents in America still want the AMA to take a neutral position on the issue, and they are expected to attend next year's meeting with a proposal like the one that just failed.
But as Dr. Barrows points out, helping a patient die is not healthcare, and no policy will ever change that.