Text: H.Con.Res.80 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/26/2017)

[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 80 Introduced in House (IH)]


  1st Session
H. CON. RES. 80

 Expressing the sense of the Congress that assisted suicide (sometimes 
 referred to as death with dignity, end-of-life options, aid-in-dying, 
or similar phrases) puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at 
  risk of deadly harm and undermines the integrity of the health care 



                           September 26, 2017

 Mr. Wenstrup (for himself, Mr. Correa, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Langevin, Mr. 
  Lipinski, Mr. Harris, Mr. LaHood, Mr. Abraham, Mr. Rothfus, and Mr. 
   Suozzi) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was 
            referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

 Expressing the sense of the Congress that assisted suicide (sometimes 
 referred to as death with dignity, end-of-life options, aid-in-dying, 
or similar phrases) puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at 
  risk of deadly harm and undermines the integrity of the health care 

Whereas ``suicide'' means the act of intentionally ending one's own life, 
        preempting death from disease, accident, injury, age, or other 
Whereas ``assisting in a suicide'' means knowingly and willingly prescribing, 
        providing, dispensing, or distributing to an individual a substance, 
        device, or other means that, if taken, used, ingested, or administered 
        as directed, expected, or instructed, will, with reasonable medical 
        certainty, result in the death of the individual, preempting death from 
        disease, accident, injury, age, or other condition;
Whereas society has a longstanding policy of supporting suicide prevention such 
        as through the efforts of many public and private suicide prevention 
        programs, the benefits of which could be denied under a public policy of 
        assisted suicide;
Whereas assisted suicide most directly threatens the lives of people who are 
        elderly, experience depression, have a disability, or are subject to 
        emotional or financial pressure to end their lives;
Whereas the Oregon Health Authority's annual reports reveal that pain or the 
        fear of pain is listed second to last (25 percent) among the reasons 
        cited by all patients seeking lethal drugs since 1998, while the top 
        five reasons cited are psychological and social concerns: ``losing 
        autonomy'' (92 percent), ``less able to engage in activities that make 
        life enjoyable'' (90 percent), ``loss of dignity'' (79 percent), 
        ``losing control of bodily functions'' (48 percent), and ``burden on 
        family friends/caregivers'' (41 percent);
Whereas the United States Supreme Court has ruled twice (in Washington v. 
        Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill) that there is no constitutional right to 
        assisted suicide, that the Government has a legitimate interest in 
        prohibiting assisted suicide, and that such prohibitions rationally 
        relate to ``protecting the vulnerable from coercion'' and ``protecting 
        disabled and terminally ill people from prejudice, negative and 
        inaccurate stereotypes, and `societal indifference;'''
Whereas clearly expressing that assisted suicide is not a legitimate health care 
        service, Congress passed, with a nearly unanimous vote, and President 
        Bill Clinton signed, the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act to 
        prevent the use of Federal funds for any item or service, including 
        advocacy, provided for the purpose of causing, or assisting in causing, 
        the death of any individual such as by assisted suicide, euthanasia, or 
        mercy killing;
Whereas a handful of States have authorized assisted suicide, but over 30 States 
        have rejected over 200 attempts at legalization since 1994;
Whereas States that authorize assisted suicide for terminally ill patients do 
        not require that such patients receive psychological screening or 
        treatment, though studies show that the overwhelming majority of 
        patients contemplating suicide experience depression;
Whereas the laws of such States contain no requirement for a medical attendant 
        to be present at the time the lethal dose is taken, used, ingested, or 
        administered to intervene in the event of medical complications;
Whereas such State laws contain no requirement that a qualified monitor be 
        present to assure that the patient is knowingly and voluntarily taking, 
        using, ingesting, or administering the lethal dose;
Whereas such State laws contain no requirement to secure lethal medication if 
        unwanted or if death occurs before such medication is used;
Whereas such State laws do not prevent family members, heirs, or health care 
        providers from pressuring patients to request assisted suicide;
Whereas such States qualify some patients for assisted suicide by using a broad 
        definition of ``terminal disease'' and ``going to die in six months or 
        less'' that includes diseases (such as diabetes or HIV) that, if 
        appropriately treated, would not otherwise result in death within six 
Whereas it is extremely difficult even for the most experienced doctors to 
        accurately prognosticate a six-month life expectancy as required, making 
        such a prognosis a prediction, not a certainty;
Whereas reporting requirements vary by State, but when required, rely on 
        prescribing physicians or dispensing pharmacists to self-report;
Whereas such reporting is neither conducted by an objective third party nor of 
        sufficient depth and accuracy to effectively monitor the occurrence of 
        assisted suicide;
Whereas there is an astounding lack of transparency in the practice of assisted 
        suicide to the extent that State health departments and other 
        authorities admittedly have no method of knowing if it is being 
        practiced within the bounds of State laws and have no funding or 
        authority to make such a determination;
Whereas some State laws actively conceal assisted suicide by directing the 
        physician to list the cause of death as the underlying condition without 
        reference to death by suicide;
Whereas the confidential nature of end-of-life decisions makes it virtually 
        impossible to effectively monitor a physician's behavior to prevent 
        abuses, making any number of safeguards insufficient;
Whereas the cost of lethal medication is far less costly than many life-saving 
        treatments, which threatens to restrict treatment options, especially 
        for disadvantaged and vulnerable persons, as has happened in several 
        known cases and presumably many more unknown in which insurers have 
        denied and/or delayed coverage for life-saving care while offering to 
        cover assisted suicide; and
Whereas access to personal assistance services such as in-home hospice and 
        palliative care, home health care aides, and nursing care/nursing 
        assistance is regretfully limited and subject to long waiting lists in 
        many areas, placing systemic pressure on patients in need of such 
        personal assistance services to resort to assisted suicide: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That it is the sense of the Congress that the Federal Government should 
ensure that every person facing the end of their life has access to the 
best quality and comprehensive medical care, including palliative, in-
home, or hospice care, tailored to their needs and that the Federal 
Government should not adopt or endorse policies or practices that 
support, encourage, or facilitate suicide or assisted suicide, whether 
by physicians or others.