9
Report of the Council
on Ethical and Judicial
Affairs of the AMA
Subject: Physician-Assisted Suicide (Resolution 3, A-93)
Presented by: John Glasson, M.D., Chair
Referred to: Reference Committee on Amendments to Constitution and Bylaws ( Louis R. Zako, M.D., Chair)

Introduction *

Physician-assisted suicide presents one of the greatest contemporary challenges to the medical profession's ethical responsibilities. Proposed as a means toward more humane care of the dying, assisted suicide threatens the very core of the medical profession's ethical integrity.

While the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs has long-standing policy opposing euthanasia, it did not expressly address the issue of assisted suicide until its June 1991 report, "Decisions Near the End of Life." In that report, the Council concluded that physician-assisted suicide is contrary to the professional role of physicians and that therefore physicians "must not ... participate in assisted suicide." Previously, the Council had issued reports rejecting the use of euthanasia. In June 1977, the Council stated that "mercy killing or euthanasia—is contrary to public policy, medical tradition, and the most fundamental measures of human value and worth." Similarly, in June 1988, the Council reaffirmed "its strong opposition to 'mercy killing.' "

____________________
From Issues in Law and Medicine 10 ( 1994): 91-97. Copyright © 1995 American Medical Association.
*
In accordance with the Joint Report of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs and the Council on Constitution and Bylaws (I-91), this report may be adopted, not adopted, or referred. It may only be amended, with the concurrence of the Council, to clarify its meaning.

-96-

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