16 Sep California’s assisted suicide bill boosts Colorado effort
Friday the California legislature passed a bill to allow assisted suicide that, with Gov. Jerry Brown’s signature, would make the country’s most populous state the fifth to allow terminally ill residents to end their life. Rep. Lois Court, a Denver Democrat, aims to make Colorado the sixth.
Court and fellow Democrats Joann Ginal of Fort Collins and Sen. Lucia Guzman of Denver fought for a bill nearly identical to California’s in the last legislative session. It died in a House hearing, with some of those voting no saying they could support a bill with more protections against abuse.
Court on Monday morning was busy setting up meetings with groups that have concerns to help draft those protections.
“I am very optimistic the people of Colorado want a law dealing with this issue,” she said. “I’m also very confident we can craft something in the next session to be that law.
“My absolute commitment is to work with people who have concerns to address those concerns and fears around this issue.”
She pointed to a poll in January that indicated 68 percent support for legislation to allow physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.
Like California’s legislation, the Colorado bill last session was modeled after the law Oregon passed in 1997 to become the first state to allow assisted suicide.
Court said the requirements to qualify for end-of-life medications would be the same in next year’s bill.
The text of House Bill 1135:
— Be an adult who is able to make and communicate health care decisions;
— Have a terminal illness; and
— Voluntarily request life-ending medication to self-administer by ingestion.
The act outlines the manner by which a terminally ill individual must request life-ending medication to self-administer by ingestion, which includes:
— A requirement to make the request orally on 2 separate occasions and by a written, signed, and witness-verified request;
— A waiting period between the oral requests, the written request, and the time the attending physician may write the
— The individual’s right to rescind the request at any time and in any manner.
Opponents in Colorado, like those in California, argued the law would be abused by health insurers and others who would stand to gain from a sick person’s death.
Last month an appeals court in New Mexico reversed a lower court ruling that would have allowed doctors to assist terminally ill patients in ending their lives. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal on Oct. 26.
“It was a reminder that the pro-physician-assisted suicide forces never rest, never accept defeat, a reminder that we must never rest, either, nor believe any victory is permanent,” the national Right to Life News Today posted last week about the appeal.