Tuesday, February 11, 2014
‘Aid in dying’ is now legal in five states and may be gaining traction in others.
70% of respondents in a 2013 Gallup Poll agreed that doctors should be allowed to “end the patient’s life by some painless means” when patients and their families want it. Only 51% supported allowing doctors to help a patient “commit suicide.”
Aid in dying advocates have learned to shun the term “assisted suicide” and are now promoting “death with dignity” bills in Connecticut and other states. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act took effect in 1997, authorizing prescriptions for legal doses when two doctors agree a patient will die within six months. Washington approved a similar law in 2008 as did Vermont last year. State courts in Montana in 2009 and New Mexico this year have said aid in dying is legal.
Robert Mitton, a dying Denver man, says, “This should be a basic human right.” He wonders why he is facing an imminent death but cannot die with dignity like people in Montana and New Mexico.
See Erik Eckholm, ‘Aid in Dying’ Movement Takes Hold in Some States, The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2014.