"It cannot be denied that there are hardships in life, some of which seem to overwhelm us. Whether experienced late in life, in a physical illness or a bout of mental depression, or in a crisis pregnancy, the human condition is for us all beset with trials and tribulations," he stated.
"A truly compassionate and merciful response to the sick and vulnerable is not to confirm these impulses by offering a lethal drug. Whether it is a terminally ill person or a young person suffering from depression, our response should be to draw them away from the edge, to help the vulnerable among us – regardless of their condition or circumstances – with genuine compassion and give them hope."
Rep. Wenstrup stated that "as a physician of over 25 years, access to quality healthcare for every American is a concern that is close to my heart."
"By authorizing doctors to violate the Hippocratic Oath of 'do no harm,' physician-assisted suicide undermines a key safeguard that protects our nation's most vulnerable citizens and ensures our loved ones receive the best medical care when they need it most," he said.
He echoed concerns of some of the city's African-American residents who thought the law would discriminate against the poor, minorities, and the elderly. They, more than others, might not be able to afford the health care needed to fight terminal illnesses or could be pressured into obtaining a lethal prescription rather than fight a terminal illness.
"Under this new law, if D.C. residents are not able to pay for health care out of pocket, they may find their options severely limited when facing a new diagnosis, suffering from a chronic illness, facing a disability, or struggling with mental illness," Wenstrup said.
Doctor-prescribed suicide is now legal in the District of Columbia and six states: Washington, Oregon, Vermont, Montana, California, and Colorado.