Big and tremendously positive news: The extremely influential American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has adopted a new position, called “engaged neutrality,” on the question of medical aid in dying. To make it clearer: they have DROPPED their position opposing it, by a vote of more than two-thirds of the doctors in their governing body.
“Changing our position to engaged neutrality shows that our members can respectfully disagree about medical aid in dying, but still agree about our role in supporting our patients no matter what care they choose at the end of life,” said Julia Sokoloff, MD, a member of the Washington Academy of Family Physicians, who introduced the resolution.
It’s big news because it shows that doctors are increasingly in favor of legal change to allow aid in dying. Certainly there’s no unanimity of opinion among doctors on this subject … but when more than two-thirds of our nation’s leading family physicians vote to overturn a position opposed to aid in dying, it shows the reality — that a sizable majority of doctors actually support it.
It’s big news because it makes it increasingly likely that the American Medical Society will also change its position opposing aid in dying. The AAFP, with more than 131,000 members, is the second largest member society in the AMA. In fact, recently, a majority of members of the AMA House of Delegates voted to reject a report calling for keeping AMA’s current position.