Washington D.C. has become the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to approve so-called death-with-dignity legislation – but opponents vow to keep fighting against it.
“We believe in life until natural death and that there is a racist component to it,” Leona Redmond, organizer of African-American seniors against the new law, told The Washington Post.
“It’s eugenics being dressed up to look like it’s the best thing since gravy,” Redmond told the newspaper. “They have been ‘soft killing’ us for a couple of decades now by not providing certain people in the community with what we need to live wholesome lives.”
D.C. Council approved the bill by an 11-2 vote on Tuesday. It allows medically assisted death for those expected to live six months or less. Candidates for the treatment cannot suffer from depression and must request the assistance multiple times.
“It allows someone who is on death’s doorstep the option to choose a peaceful death,” council member Mary Cheh, the bill’s sponsor, said just ahead of Tuesday’s vote, reported Religion News Service.
“To deny it to those who competently choose it is simply to prolong the process of death, to prolong suffering, to rob a person of autonomy, and in some cases to simply impose one’s own moral or religious choice on another person,” Cheh said.
The District of Columbia issued a statement recognizing the authentic and heart-felt positions taken by both opponents and proponents of the bill.
“Predictably, debate on the Death with Dignity bill resonated both emotionally and intellectually with Council members and advocates on both sides of the debate,” the district said online. “Questions about when life ends, how, and who if anyone can make such decisions set the broad philosophical context for the discussion, but the very real details of personal life and death experiences provided the essence of the day.”
But Redmond and other opponents weren’t moved. She told The Washington Post “she would take the fight against the bill to Congress, which can strike down local laws.”