TitleReflections on the debate on disability and aid in dying.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsKrahn, GL
JournalDisability and health journal
Date Published2010 Jan
KeywordsUnited States

BACKGROUND: A policy resolution supporting physician aid in dying was proposed to the American Public Health Association (APHA) in 2007 that prompted a debate with the Disability Section on its meaning for people with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: The present paper reflects on the issues revealed and lessons learned. METHODS: The debate included subcommittee discussion; review of research, polls, administrative reports; discussion with disability rights organizations; and floor-debate and vote by the APHA Governing Council. RESULTS: Reflections on the process are summarized under the themes: we all have our own views; it's highly personal; confusion among key concepts; I might want it for myself; it's about control and not about pain; the slippery slope and other arguments; and undue burden on people with disabilities. CONCLUSIONS: The APHA resolution supporting aid in dying was passed in 2008 with some improvements in the language and a recommendation to measure pre-existing disability. Valuable lessons were learned through the debate process.