WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia’s Death with Dignity Act takes effect Saturday as Republicans opponents on Capitol Hill were unable to block the new law.
Although the new D.C. law was submitted to the House and Senate on January 6 for a 30-legislative-day review period under the Home Rule Act, House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz could not convince his Senate counterpart, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, to take up the issue.
“It’s not going to happen,” said Johnson. (RELATED: Republicans Prep Measure To Overturn D.C. Assisted Suicide Law)
D.C. is now the seventh jurisdiction in the country to legalize medically assisted suicide. Congress can still vote to overturn the law or attempt to defund it, however, in the future, but doing so after it goes into effect is more difficult.
“We will continue to monitor Congress for attacks on D.C. or any of the six other states where medical aid-in-dying is authorized: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont. And while it is true that opponents want to defund and overturn the law, no funding is required for the law to go into effect,” the advocacy group for assisted suicide, Compassion and Choices, said in a statement Friday night.
The D.C. law enables doctor-assisted suicide under precise circumstances. A doctor must determine that a patient is terminally ill and has no more than six months to live. Also, the physician must tell the patient of other options if a request for a lethal prescription is made, The Washington Times reported.
“Whatever its intentions, D.C.’s new law puts patients at risk and could limit their access to high-quality health care. It prioritizes cost over compassion. Since the Constitution charges Congress with legislative jurisdiction over D.C., Congress has a duty to carefully scrutinize this bill, its impact on medical patients, and its effects on our health-care system. We have weighed the legislation and found it wanting. D.C. residents deserve better,” Republican Reps. Brad Wenstrup and Phil Roe, both doctors, wrote in a National Review op-ed.