The Alaska Legislature on Thursday, April 9th, will hold its first hearing ever on a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe lethal drugs for the express purpose of causing the death of their patients.

However, if you search through the legislative schedule for this week, you’d have a hard time even noticing this bill. That’s because it’s listed by its very soothing official title – “Voluntary Termination of Life.” Sponsored by Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), House Bill 99 proposes to bring Oregon-style assisted suicide to Alaska.

I don’t always agree with the political views of the American Medical Association, but their statement in opposition to doctor-assisted suicide hits the nail on the head:

“…allowing physicians to participate in assisted suicide would cause more harm than good. Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks. Instead of participating in assisted suicide, physicians must aggressively respond to the needs of patients at the end of life. Patients should not be abandoned once it is determined that cure is impossible.” (AMA Code of Medical Ethics, Opinion 2.211, emphasis added).

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