GLAA and allies fight for medical aid in dying

Mary Klein, center, urges District officials to ease barriers to medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients. (Fenit Nirappil/The Washington Post)

Fenit Nirappil reports for WaPo:

Nearly a year after the District enacted a law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives … not a single patient has used it….

Mary Klein, a D.C. resident in the final stages of cancer who became the public face of the movement, says she hasn’t been able to find a willing doctor.

Officials with the national advocacy group Compassion and Choices blame local health officials for creating what they consider a cumbersome process that dissuades doctors from participating.

I have sat in Senate offices as a GLAA representative alongside Mary Klein as we defended DC’s Death with Dignity law against congressional interference. She gives powerful witness to the journey she and her wife have gone through in dealing with her cancer. There could not be a better advocate.

Working with our allies on the DC Council, including Health Committee Chair Vince Gray, and with the smart and dedicated folks at Compassion and Choices, we will clear the obstacles that have prevented people like Mary from accessing this law. Medical aid in dying is only one part of the continuum of care for people at the end of life. But for those facing a painful death, it is an option they should be able to choose in consultation with their doctors.

That’s me with the dark glasses and black glove in the back at last week’s rally organized by Compassion and Choices on the steps of the Wilson Building.



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