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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Colorado Revisits Physician-Aided Suicide

DENVER (CN) - Colorado Democrats say they will propose a bill to allow terminally ill Coloradans to end their lives on their own terms, at a House Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday.

House Bill 16-1054 , the Colorado End of Life Options Act, would allow patients who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness to request end-of-life medication from their physician.

Oregon, California, Vermont and Washington are the only states in which physician-assisted suicide is legal.

The bill is sponsored by state Reps. Lois Court and Joann Ginal, and state Sen. Michael Merrifield.

A citizen proponent, Patti King, has brought public pressure to bear. King's mother-in-law starved herself in her hospital bed because King refused to suffocate her with a pillow to end her suffering.

"She starved herself to death," King, of Arvada, told the Denver Post. "It was the last bit of control she had."

The new bill is similar to the Colorado Death With Dignity Act, which the Legislature rejected in 2015.

Opponents said the legislation could leave Coloradans vulnerable to abusive insurance policies that offer end-of-life drugs as a cheaper option than more expensive treatments for severe illnesses. They also said it lacked safeguards against dishonest family members who might abuse it.

Many Colorado organizations have spoken out against assisted suicide, including Colorado Citizens for Life, Disabled Parents Rights, and the Colorado Catholic Conference.

The bill is to be introduced in the House Judiciary Committee at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

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