American Medical Association Re-Examining Opposition to Physician-Assisted Suicide


(Chicago Tribune) – For more than 20 years the nation’s most prominent doctors’ group has opposed physician-assisted suicide, but there are signs the American Medical Association may be wavering on that position.

An AMA council spent two years reviewing the group’s opposition to the practice, and recommended in a report that its stance stay the same. The AMA’s House of Delegates, however, narrowly voted Monday at the group’s annual meeting in Chicago not to accept that report, instead sending it back to the council for further review. About 56 percent of the delegates voted for further review.

The American Medical Association’s current opinion says, “Permitting physicians to engage in assisted suicide would ultimately cause more harm than good.”

The debate comes as the majority of Americans support the practice. About 72 percent of people surveyed as part of a recent Gallup poll said they believe doctors should be legally allowed to end a terminally ill patient’s life using painless means. That support, however, drops to 65 percent when people were asked if doctors should be allowed to “assist the patient to commit suicide” if a person has an incurable disease and is in severe pain. CONTINUE