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CMA Impact Helps Stop AMA Assisted Suicide Resolutions

November 14, 2023

By Dr. Tim Millea

Members from the Catholic Medical Association and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations attended the AMA Interim Meeting to oppose resolutions supporting physician assisted suicide.

In a combined and coordinated effort, members of the CMA and Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) were present at the American Medical Association (AMA) Interim Meeting that ran Nov. 10-14, where two resolutions supporting physician assisted suicide were proposed. As a result of the opposition of members from both organizations and many others who value the dignity of life, neither resolution was adopted at this meeting.

This success included the following:

• “Do not adopt” decision by the AMA House of Delegates on a resolution to change the AMA’s position on assisted suicide from its current opposition to one of neutrality.

• Defeat of a proposal that would remove the AMA’s current statement that it “strongly opposes any bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia” (AMA Policy H 270.965).

• Defeat of a proposal that would remove the AMA’s current statement that assisted suicide “is fundamentally inconsistent with the physician’s professional role” (AMA Policy H 140.952).

Two proposals were referred to the AMA Board for further study:

• Create a new AMA policy that would oppose criminalization of health care professionals who participate in assisted suicide

• Change AMA terminology from physician-assisted suicide to medical aid in dying (MAiD)

First year resident, Dr. Emily Makhlouf, testifies at the AMA Interim Meeting against proposed resolution changes that would support physician assisted suicide.

The involvement of CMA members nationwide was critical to these outcomes. The combination of online comments, contact with AMA delegates, and in-person testimony at the meeting all contributed to these decisions by the AMA. The CMA is privileged to work alongside our colleagues from CMDA in this and many other efforts. In addition, we greatly appreciate the assistance of the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF), a leading voice in the fight against assisted suicide.

One resident who testified, CMA member Dr. Emily Makhlouf said it well, “It is not within the realm of medicine to decide when we enter this world and when we leave it. This is God’s work. In medicine, we try to cure and when cure is not possible, we try to relieve suffering as much as possible. Killing our patients will never be part of the noble pursuit of medicine.”

The promotion of assisted suicide and other unethical medical interventions will certainly continue. CMA’s ongoing vigilance and involvement will also continue, as long as these assaults on ethical medical care persist.


CMA Board Member Dr. Timothy Millea is the chair of the Health Care Policy Committee and Conscience Rights Protection Task Force. He is also the Iowa state director and president of the St. Thomas Aquinas Guild of the Quad Cities.