In D.C., a Deadly Experiment on the Poor

The Council of the District of Columbia plans to vote on “death with dignity” (physician-assisted suicide) legislation November 1. The council, and all of us, have some time to consider the consequences of authorizing lethal prescriptions for people thought to have six months or less to live.

I lived in Washington, D.C., for years and worked there for decades, but now live in Washington State — which has a seven-year record of allowing physician-assisted suicide in such cases. The state initiative was marketed as a way to allow a free choice for a small number of desperately ill people suffering terrible pain, with safeguards against abuse.

The reality has been different.