The CMA said its change to neutral on the issue marked the first by a state medical association. It comes amid renewed debate over doctor-assisted suicide following the death of brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard last fall.
The American Medical Association remains opposed to doctors participating in assisted suicide, saying in a policy statement on its website that doing so was fundamentally incompatible with a doctor's role as a healer, would be difficult to control and posed "serious societal risks."
The press release announcing their decision is filled with absurd attempts to cover their disregard for the lives of those considering suicide and sounds eerily like the rhetoric and euphemisms used to defend abortion on demand. Assisted suicide is called “physician aid in dying” or “end of life options.” The relationship between doctor and patient is exalted. Helping someone kill themselves is equated with methods of “treatment.”
Important issues, which previously led the California Medical Association to oppose assisted suicide and attempts to legalize it, are not mentioned or refuted. Those issues include the potentials for abuse, the recognition that desire for suicide is rarely a rational decision, fears that legalizing assisted suicide could undermine hospice care, the uncertainly of medical diagnoses, and how assisted suicide violates the fundamental “do no harm” medical ethic.
While the California Medical Association is the first state medical association group to announce they are "neutral" on physicians helping to kill patients, only time will time if they are the last.
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