By Bob Katzen
This bill, known by many names, would give a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live the option to request, obtain and ingest medication—to die in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. It is currently before the Judiciary Committee.
Supporters say the bill is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which has been in practice for 25 years without a single instance of abuse or coercion. They note the bill includes several core safeguards including requiring the terminal illness and six-month prognosis to be conﬁrmed by two doctors; requiring the attending physician to inform the individual about all of their end-of-life care options, including hospice and pain or symptom management; and allowing the terminally ill person to withdraw their request for medication, not take the medication once they have it or otherwise change their mind at any point.
Sponsor Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) said she is working side-by-side with her co-sponsors and other supporters to get this bill through the Legislature this session. “Individuals with terminal diagnoses should have access to safe options,” said Comerford.