“The nation’s capital would be the sixth jurisdiction to authorize the long-controversial practice that has gained increasing acceptance among elected officials and the public,” The Washington Post reported after the council’s Committee of the Whole approved the bill on Oct. 18. “Eight members — a majority of the 13-member council — have expressed support for the legislation.”
The D.C. Council is tentatively scheduled to vote on the D.C. Death with Dignity Act on Nov. 1.
The Post noted the unique historical significance and legislative path to authorize medical in dying in the district.
“Council member LaRuby May (D-Ward 8), a supporter of the legislation, has said constituents from her poor and predominantly black district deserve the same health care and end-of-life options as people living on the West Coast …
“Advocates are hoping that passage in the District will allow them to break through a racial barrier in their national campaign. To date, physician-assisted death has been authorized in Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — states with mostly white populations. In June, a right-to-death law took effect in California, despite opposition from Latinos and Catholics.
“But even if the council and mayor approve the legislation, Congress has the power to review and strike down D.C. laws — which could turn the emotionally charged issue into a broader political fight. A spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) did not return requests for comment.”
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