By Grazie Pozo Christie

Proponents of assisted suicide have been so successful in decriminalizing it that, today, one in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that allows the practice. Proponents want doctors’ and nurses’ professional associations to reject the Hippocratic oath’s command to “do no harm” in favor of making suicide just one more therapeutic option for sick or despairing terminally ill patients.

The American Nurses Association, whose venerable pedigree dates back to 1896, is the latest group to consider abandoning its traditional opposition to assisted suicide. A change in the ANA’s longstanding opposition to assisted suicide would rock the entire healthcare profession in the United States. It would also have enormous consequences for all Americans, given this organization’s lobbying power and prestige.

The ANA recently proposed a draft statement titled “The Nurse’s Role When a Patient Requests Aid in Dying” that would drop its 123-year-old opposition to assisted suicide.

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