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Nearly 20 States Are Weighing Legislation That Would Make Assisted Suicide Legal

  • Nearly half of Americans are considering legislation that would legalize assisted suicide, a sign of growing debate among Americans about the “right to die.”
  • Virginia lawmakers recently voted to introduce a bill in the state Senate on Tuesday that would allow doctors to euthanize patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and Arizona lawmakers recently voted to introduce a bill in the state Senate that would allow doctors to euthanize patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses, while Arizona lawmakers voted to allow doctors to euthanize patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses. A bill was passed that would allow people to be told to withhold food and water.
  • Bishop Michael Burbidge and Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, said in a statement: “To meet each individual's needs and alleviate their suffering, patients should receive quality medical care, palliative care, and not suicide drugs. “They have a right to hospice care.”

Lawmakers in 19 states are considering bills this year that would make it legal for doctors to provide end-of-life care to patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses.

Assisted suicide is currently legal in the United States in Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Vermont, Hawaii, and Washington, DC. 19 It shows a growing interest in the debate about the role of doctors in helping patients end their lives. (Related: Man paid $12,000 to commit suicide overseas, family and authorities seek to uncover details: report)

Assisted suicide is beginning It became legal in Oregon in 1997, followed soon after by Vermont, Washington, Montana, and California. New Mexico is the latest state to adopt the measure in 2021, allowing patients with six months or less to live to go through a mental competency testing process and, if they pass, a 48-hour waiting period before their lives can be ended. according to Local media KQRE News.

But new bills are coming from all over the country, from states like: arizona,Virginia, tennessee and new york. Virginia state authorities invoiceThe bill, which passed through the state Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and would allow terminally ill patients to request that doctors provide them with “self-administered controlled substances” to end their own lives, is expected to be voted on in the Senate in the coming days. is likely to be carried out. according to This was reported to local media outlet WUSA9.

Caregiver and former doctor Denis Rousseau speaks with Liddy Imhoff (left) as she waits for doctors to arrive on the day of euthanasia in her hospital room in Belgium on February 1, 2024. (Photo by SIMON WOHLFAHRT/AFP via Getty Images)

bill sponsor claim That individuals should be able to make their own choices about their lives, including when they die. Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton, who has progressive supranuclear palsy, wrote a letter supporting his claim, which was read to the state Senate in January.

“These devastating health conditions have left thousands of Virginians dealing with terminal illnesses facing unimaginable challenges and choices,” Wexton wrote. “That's why this law is so important. It will ensure that Virginians like me have the dignity, freedom, and peace of mind they deserve in the face of a tragic terminal illness.” This is an important step towards making this possible.”

But on Sunday, Bishop Michael Burbidge and Bishop Barry Knestout of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, statement The Catholic Church said it was “alarmed and deeply saddened” and encouraged congregants to contact their elected officials to voice concerns about the bill.

“People at the end of their lives are in great need and must be cared for with the utmost care. To meet their individual needs and alleviate their suffering, patients should be given not suicide medication, but They have a right to quality medical, palliative and hospice care,” the statement said.

In the 23 years since the procedure became legal, 5,330 people have died by assisted suicide in the United States, and 8,451 Americans have been prescribed the drug, according to a 2022 report. study Published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

another invoice In Arizona, patients are allowed to write a “living will” that authorizes doctors to withhold “food and fluids.” The bill would also exempt doctors from “criminal or civil liability” if they make “medical decisions in good faith based on the provisions of a demonstrably genuine living will.” claim Doctors may be able to starve a patient to death, even if the patient is desperate for food.

The United States' neighbor Canada, which has dramatically expanded access to assisted suicide in recent years, has responded to a shortage of psychiatrists by providing medical assistance in dying, which allows people with mental illnesses to legally commit suicide. (MAID) program has been suspended indefinitely. was willing to approve the medication on that basis; according to Go to the National Catholic Register. The MAID program was first approved in 2016 and was only open to people with “serious and irreversible medical conditions” for whom death was “reasonably foreseeable,” but it was later expanded to include mental health conditions such as depression. Revised to include.

Some have expressed concern that the United States is heading in a similar direction. in 2023 article Darryl Pullman, research professor of bioethics at Memorial University, wrote in the American Journal of Bioethics, referring to Grant Gillett, professor of biomedical ethics at the University of Otago in New Zealand, that people should “quickly… Regarding “when we are looking for a proper solution,'' he says: For complex problems like depression and terminal illness, “euthanasia is just that kind of answer.”

“The analysis provided here shows that not all approaches proposed to deal with this complex human problem necessarily result in the abandonment of moral judgment, but moral judgment It needs to be informed by and constrained by the law. Canada has much to learn from the United States in this regard. Conversely, the United States should be able to help Canada in order to avoid the precipitous slide that is currently occurring in Canada. We should be wary of this,” Pullman concluded.

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