Bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide goes before lawmakers

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A controversial bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide has gone before lawmakers at the Nevada State Legislature.

It’s the third session in which Nevada State Senator David Parks, D-NV, has introduced a physician-assisted suicide bill.

Senate Bill 165 is called the ‘Death by Dignity’ bill.  Senators narrowly passed a similar bill two years ago during the last session, but it did not make it out of the Assembly.

Senate Bill165 would allow physicians to prescribe medication to terminally ill patients that would end their lives provided the following:

  • Their diagnosis says they are within six months of their death
  • They are found to be of sound mind
  • The primary physician has fully informed the patient of all treatment options and feasible alternatives
  • A secondary physician and two witnesses have signed off

Supporters and opponents of the bill testified in front of a Senate Committee. 

“I want to be able to spend my last hours and days with my family and friends being able to celebrate life, and then when I feel that the time has come, I should be able to make the choice of when I end my life instead of letting the cancer take me,” said Debbie Black, supports bill.

“I oppose this bill because if physician-assisted suicide is legal, some people’s lives will be ended without their consent through mistakes and abuse,” said Marilyn Goldman, opposes bill.

As far as how frequently physicians prescribe assisted suicide medication the numbers break down as followed: 

In Oregon, about 1,000 people have elected to do so since the law was enacted 20 years ago.

More than 90 percent of those people were in hospice care, according to testimony in front of the committee.  Six other states and Washington, D.C. have similar laws in statute.

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