Legislation

Governor Rauner Signs Pro-Abortion HB40

UPDATE: Governor Rauner has signed House Bill 40 in to public act on September 28th.   It is effective June 1st, 2018. In a press confe...

October 20, 2016

Several state-level measures may have national consequences for physician-assisted suicide

Jennifer Popik, JD, Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics
Jennifer Popik
By Jennifer Popik, JD, Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Over the past few years, battles have raged in nearly every state legislature over the controversial topic of physician-assisted suicide. Currently, bills are imminent in New Jersey and the District of Columbia. On the ballot this November in Colorado, voters will decide Initiative 145, known as the “Medical Aid in Dying Proposal.”

While these bills will pose an immediate danger to vulnerable groups within those states, there is a real threat that these laws will spread to more states quickly, or even produce a new Supreme Court challenge.

Nearly every state in the U.S. prohibits assisting in another’s suicide. However, as part of an initial effort to expand euthanasia, assisted suicide advocates, principally Compassion and Choices, have focused on pushing a carve-out that allows doctors to prescribe a lethal prescription to a supposedly terminally ill and competent patient who overdoses on the drugs. These laws frequently bear some sort of misleading moniker such as “death with dignity” or “aid in dying.”

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