Minnesota medical professionals urge MMA to remain opposed to assisted suicide
We, the undersigned medical professionals serving the people of Minnesota, are deeply concerned about the Minnesota Medical Association's current consideration of changing its long-standing position on the legalization of assisted suicide from "opposed" to "neutral," given the numerous risks and injustices of this dangerous, harmful practice:
- Assisted suicide is not a medical procedure. It violates our oath to "do no harm," damages the patient-provider relationship, and is not necessary given great advances in pain management and end-of-life care that have been made in recent decades.
- Assisted suicide discourages solving the disparities present in healthcare today. Given economic dynamics of the healthcare industry and the fact that ending life will likely be cheaper than ongoing care in most cases, assisted suicide could be pushed on vulnerable people, such as the poor, the elderly, and the disabled. It will also disincentivize efforts to expand affordable and accessible care for all.
- Assisted suicide laws do not effectively safeguard patients or doctors. Evidence from Oregon and Washington shows that assisted suicide is inherently risky and dangerous. Proposed legislation in Minnesota is modeled after the flawed laws in these states. If the MMA shifted its position at this juncture, it would amount to an endorsement of a dangerous bill that is not safe for doctors or patients.
MMA should advocate for better care options, not abandonment of care. Minnesota is a world-recognized leader in healthcare. Our medical community and lawmakers should be advancing real care through workforce development, enhanced education, building on vast improvements in palliative and hospice care, increasing access and affordability, and ensuring that Minnesota remains at the forefront of research into innovative treatments and life-saving care.
We urge the MMA to maintain its current policy opposing legalization of assisted suicide, because Minnesota should be a leader in advancing care, not hastening death.
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