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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton to Host Media Availability with Widower of Medical Aid-in-Dying Advocate Brittany Maynard as D.C. Law Faces New Threats, Wednesday

Jun 13, 2017
Press Release

Dan Diaz to Meet with Members of Congress to Urge Them to Respect D.C. Home Rule

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will host a media availability in her office with Dan Diaz, the widower of California medical aid-in-dying advocate Brittany Maynard, to discuss their efforts to defend the District of Columbia’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at noon, in 2136 Rayburn House Office Building.  In 2014, Brittany and Dan were forced to move from their home in California to Oregon to allow her to utilize Oregon’s medical aid-in-dying law.  Brittany had an invasive brain tumor that caused such debilitating pain that she chose to end her suffering under Oregon’s medical aid-in-dying law.  California passed its medical aid-in-dying law in 2015 and it took effect in 2016.

President Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget contains a rider attempting to block DWDA and there have been news reports that Members of the House Appropriations Committee will try to block DWDA in the upcoming appropriations process.  Norton was successful in keeping the full House and Senate from considering disapproval resolutions to nullify the DWDA during the congressional review period.

D.C.’s local medical aid-in-dying law allows a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a D.C. resident who is mentally capable, over the age of 18 and has a terminal illness and six months or less to live.  The bill includes numerous safeguards, including requiring two physicians to confirm the terminal prognosis, the patient to make two oral requests for the medication, separated by at least 15 days, and a written request 48 hours before the medication can be prescribed, and the patient to self-ingest the medication.  There are 24 House Republicans, including two House Members in the Republican leadership, from the six states where medical aid in dying is legal: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.  According to Gallup, a majority of Americans (73% in 2017) have supported medical aid in dying since 1973.

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