The District of Columbia provides virtually no protection for human life, failing to protect women and unborn children from the harms inherent in abortion, to recognize and protect unborn victims of violence, or to prohibit assisted suicide. It also fails to protect the fundamental freedom of conscience of healthcare providers.
- No abortion may be performed after viability unless it is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health.
- In the District of Columbia, abortions may only be performed under the direction of a licensed medical practitioner.
- Taxpayer funds may not be used for abortions unless the abortion is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.
Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:
- The laws of the District of Columbia do not recognize an unborn child as a potential crime victim.
- The District of Columbia allows a parent or other relative to bring a wrongful death (civil) lawsuit when a viable unborn child is killed through the negligent or criminal act of another.
- The District of Columbia maintains no laws related to human cloning, destructive embryo research, fetal experimentation, human egg harvesting, or assisted reproductive technologies.
End of Life Laws:
- The legal status of assisted suicide in the District of Columbia remains undetermined. It has not enacted a specific statute prohibiting assisted suicide, and it does not recognize common law crimes. There is no judicial decision stating whether assisted suicide is a form of homicide under its general homicide laws.
Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Laws:
Participation in Abortion:
- The District of Columbia currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in abortion.
Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:
- The District of Columbia currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in human cloning, destructive embryo research, or other forms of medical research, which violate a provider’s moral or religious belief.
What Happened in 2013:
- The District of Columbia considered legislation related to abortion funding, pain management, and palliative care.