The Mayor of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, has signed the Death with Dignity Act of 2015, bringing District residents another step closer to having assisted dying among their end-of-life options.
The bill had passed out of the Council by a veto-proof 11 to 2 margin, in both required votes. Like the Council before her, the Mayor refused to give in to misinformation from the opponents of Death with Dignity and listened to the will of the people. According to a 2015 Lake Research poll, two in three D.C. residents support the aid-in-dying option, allowing qualified terminally-ill people to end their lives in a legal, peaceful manner.
As the first national right-to-die advocacy organization on the ground in D.C., we are grateful to see the fruits of nearly two years of our work with the bill’s sponsor, Councilmember Mary Cheh, and her colleagues.
We are this close to the Act becoming law in D.C. But our work is not done. Under the lawmaking rules in the District, the Death with Dignity Act must now undergo a review by the United States Congress. The House and the Senate will have 30 days to disapprove the Act with a joint resolution, which the President would have to sign, or allow it to become law without action. If Congress does not intervene, the District will become the 6th jurisdiction with an assisted dying statute.
Featured image by AFGE.