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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton

Representing the District of Columbia

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Norton Says D.C. Is Within the Law and Its Rights to Implement the Death with Dignity Act

Jul 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) released the following statement on the announcement by Mayor Muriel Bowser that the District of Columbia implemented today its medical aid-in-dying law, the Death with Dignity Act (DWDA).

“Mayor Bowser is well within the law and her rights to take necessary steps to implement the city’s local medical aid-in-dying law despite attempts by Members of Congress to undemocratically interfere with our jurisdiction’s purely local law.  Congress has not enacted legislation to prevent the city from implementing the Death with Dignity Act.  When the bill came to Congress, we stopped disapproval resolutions to nullify the Death with Dignity Act from reaching the House floor, and from being considered in the Senate at all, during the congressional review period, and the Death with Dignity Act is now law.  The D.C. Council passed the Death with Dignity Act by an 11-2 vote after hearing hours of testimony from dozens of experts and residents on a bill that affects no other jurisdiction.  There are 24 House Republicans, including two House Republican leaders, from six states where medical aid in dying is legal.  I will continue to fight any and all attempts here in Congress to prevent the District from carrying out its own local medical aid-in-dying law.”

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed the fiscal year 2018 District of Columbia appropriations bill, which included a rider, offered by Representative Andy Harris (R-MD), to repeal the DWDA, but the House has not taken up the bill.  According to Gallup, a majority of Americans (73% in 2017) have supported medical aid in dying since 1973.