from Human Life Action
The American Nurses Association (ANA) currently holds a position in opposition to assisted suicide. A draft position statement, attached, if adopted would move the Association’s position from “oppose” to “neutral.” The ANA is accepting public comments on its proposal. You do not need to be a member of the ANA or a nurse to provide comments.
Comments can be posted here Comments are accepted through Monday, April 8, 2019. We apologize for the very short notice.
You will note from the link, ANA is requesting comments be provided as they pertain to different sections of their proposal. Our suggested comments, below, are also keyed to specific sections of the ANA proposal for that reason. You may copy and paste these comments into the appropriate box on the ANA link if you wish. Please feel free to offer any additional comments you desire.
A plain reading of the proposal clearly appears to be defining the act of suicide or assisted suicide into the practice of nursing and medicine. If the ANA offers this proposal to associate itself with a perceived shift in political, legislative and regulatory trends in favor of integrating suicide into medicine, it should simply say so and not portray the exercise as anything else. Simply said, the proposal is offered now primarily to follow a perceived external trend and is not an independent judgment of the ANA for the good of nurses and patients. Judging suicide or assisted suicide by the historical standards of medicine, public health and ethics, this proposal offers a highly risky and uncertain use of nursing and medicine with dangerous unintended consequences, especially for the aged, persons with physical and mental disabilities, persons with low incomes, and the underinsured or uninsured with little access to high quality long term care.
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Adoption of this proposal will place an additional, undue mental and emotional burden on nurses with no evidence to show a corresponding improvement in patient care and recovery. While people may pursue careers in politics or law to pursue novel, untested notions of person freedom, surveys show that women and men do not pursue careers in nursing for that reason. The ANA is known among current and potential nursing students to oppose suicide and assisted suicide. There is no evidence to suggest that anyone pursues a career in nursing to aid in suicide, but they may avoid a career in nursing for that reason. As America suffers from a chronic shortage of nurses, the ANA should not change its policy at this time in a way that will discourage people from entering the profession. The ANA offers no compelling medical, ethical or economic reason to do so.