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Ama Votes Against Assisted Suicide

Wed., June 26, 1996

The American Medical Association’s governing body overwhelmingly rejected a proposal Tuesday to end its opposition to physician-assisted suicide.

The decision came in a voice vote at the AMA’s annual meeting in Chicago, with the only dissenting vote coming from Dr. Ulrich Danckers, a retired radiologist who had presented the resolution that advocated a neutral stance.

Although they rejected Danckers’ proposal, delegates endorsed a report recommending increased efforts at reducing pain and suffering in dying patients.

The report that the AMA ratified Tuesday said “It is ethically acceptable for a physician to gradually increase the appropriate medication for a patient, realizing that the medication may depress respiration and cause death.” Even so, the report said, “The physician’s role is to affirm life, not hasten its demise.”

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