About a year ago, the Washington Post reported on the debate at the American Medical Association regarding physician assisted suicide, and asked whether its longstanding opposition might change. The answer is now in, and the answer is a resounding NO. We are not simply reaffirming opposition to an unethical practice. The AMA has reasserted the fundamental role of the physician as healer, and a commitment to principles of the ancient oath to Do No Harm.
This summer, after 2 years of in-depth study by our Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) and another year of formal debate, we at the AMA House of Delegates voted at the annual meeting by a 71% majority to reaffirm our opposition to physician assisted suicide, again noting that it is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”