Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) Says He’ll Overturn Washington D.C.’s “Death With Dignity” Act

Last month, the Washington, D.C. city council passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients to end life on their own terms. It was called the Death with Dignity Act and the name was absolutely appropriate. Instead of prolonging the suffering of patients, those who were nearing death and didn’t suffer from clinical depression had the option of taking a drug to end their lives.

D.C. joined Oregon, California, Washington, Vermont, and Montana as the only places where physician-assisted suicide was legal.

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But now, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) wants to override the legislation and force those patients to suffer even more. Because making medical decisions for other people is a favorite pastime of the Republican Party.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said Monday he’ll use rarely invoked congressional authority to block a new law passed by the D.C. Council to allow doctors to help end the lives of terminally ill patients in the city.

Chaffetz plans to introduce a disapproval resolution by the end of January.

Congress last successfully used its power to void D.C. laws in 1991 to stop the city from changing the maximum height of buildings and in 1981 to block the repeal of a felony sodomy law…

If his name is familiar, it might be because Chaffetz tried to demonize Planned Parenthood during a congressional hearing last year by presenting the most deceptive chart you’ll ever see. Why bother with honesty when your conservative base will believe all your lies?

The Secular Coalition for America, which supported the D.C. bill, denounced Chaffetz in a press release yesterday:

“Rep. Chaffetz is free to express his personal beliefs about aid in dying, however it is wholly unacceptable and inappropriate for him to use his congressional power to impose those beliefs on others,” said Sarah Levin, Senior Legislative Representative for the Secular Coalition for America. “Rep. Chaffetz is not expected to grant a personal seal of approval to those who choose aid in dying, but merely to respect the rights of terminally ill DC residents to decide what is best for themselves. We hope that Rep. Chaffetz will recognize this crucial distinction. Like all members of Congress, Rep. Chaffetz was elected to serve his constituents, not dictate private medical decisions for the people of DC.

The SCA is urging people to contact their representatives and tell them to “stand up for the District’s autonomy.”

For Chaffetz to be successful, he’d have to get the House and Senate to support the disapproval resolution before getting a signature from President Golden Showers. It’s not like the GOP has shown any ability to restrain themselves when the opportunities present themselves. So send those emails and make those calls.

(Image via Shutterstock. Portions of this article were published earlier)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.