Groundswell of Support Grows Around D.C. Law
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
As our battle to stop Congress from repealing D.C’s Death with Dignity Act continues, voices from all corners of the nation are getting louder. Compassion & Choices’ Week of Action around the matter resulted in an enormous response, and high-profile media outlets are speaking out as well.
We started the Week of Action — an initiative to appeal to lawmakers to not repeal the act — with a goal of 3,200 supporters to sending a message to their representatives and senators. At the week’s close, 3,790 people responded with messages, as well as more than 11,000 emails and over 120 phone calls.
Further amplifying our reach, both English- and Spanish-language newspaper outlets have recently editorialized in support of D.C.’s Death with Dignity Act. They recognize that this federal interference sets a dangerous precedent that could inspire opponents to attempt to ban medical aid in dying across the country. Highlights include:
- On July 20, The Washington Post concluded, “The obvious question: If D.C.’s law, which is modeled on existing state laws, is such bad policy, where is the bill to ban medical aid in dying nationally? Six other jurisdictions allow medical assistance in dying, and in more than 30 combined years of experience, there has not been a single documented instance of abuse.”
- On July 26, Colorado’s Grand Junction Daily Sentinel argued, “ … it would be highly hypocritical of House members and senators from the six states with medical aid in dying laws — including Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner — to void this option for D.C. residents when their constituents at home have it and strongly support it.”
- On July 27, Latino California argued that members of Congress “are abusing the federal appropriations process to try to do what they could not before: repeal the law …” (“están abusando del proceso de asignaciones federales para tratar de hacer lo que antes no pudieron: derogar la ley …” )
- On August 5, the Durango Herald wrote in support of the D.C. Death with Dignity Act and the ballot initiative that authorized medical aid in dying in Colorado, stating, “ … the laws are well-conceived; it should be an option for those who desire it. Congress should back off.”
- On August 7, the Los Angeles Daily News and seven of its sister papers told Congress to “… back off interference with D.C., and to respect individual liberty. Leave such matters to the states and the district to decide for themselves.”
- The next day, the Orange County Register and the Press-Enterprise, two papers in conservative parts of California, held Congressman Harris to account; fact-checking his false assertions, saying: “Harris downplayed the numerous safeguards built into the law, dubiously claiming people from across the country would visit the nation’s capital to ‘come get a lethal injection.’ The end-of-life medications used across the country are taken orally and lethal injections are expressly prohibited under the D.C. law.”
Finally, Compassion & Choices’ Chief Program Officer Kim Callinan and legendary civil-rights activist Dolores Huerta wrote op-eds voicing their outrage at Congress’ actions. Huerta, who worked to pass the California End of Life Option Act, asked Congress to remember that “how we die is an intensely personal, private family issue, not a political one.”