Apr. 9—In a legislative session full of contentious proposals from more progressive lawmakers — such as legalizing cannabis and repealing a decades-old abortion ban — perhaps none drew as much controversy as one that would give terminally ill patients the right to seek a doctor's aid in dying.
On Thursday, Gov.
The legislation is named after a
"It's important for all patients to know all of their options at the end of life," said
"And being able to have the option of medical aid in dying will bring tremendous relief to people who may not be able to bear their suffering any longer," Armijo added.
She and other proponents say the new law will give patients facing a painful death more control and an option to die with dignity.
Opponents argue, however, the law could lead to abuse of elderly relatives or prompt people to take their own lives because they fear their terminal illness has made them a burden on loved ones.
Matt Vallière, executive director of the
Armstrong's daughter Erin, who is in her 40s, spoke in favor of the bill before a legislative committee earlier this year. She told the lawmakers she has been fighting a 20-year battle with cancer.
While she "desperately" wants to keep living, she said, she is aware she likely will not survive the disease.
Armstrong said her daughter now has a "great relief that she doesn't have to worry about being in agony when the time comes."
The legislation will not force physicians, pharmacists or other health care professionals to provide life-ending drugs.
As the law is written, a terminally ill patient's doctor can prescribe the drugs only after obtaining a second medical opinion and ensuring the patient is mentally and emotionally fit to make a choice about ending their life.
While most states' aid-in-dying laws include a 15-day waiting period between the time the patient receives approval for the drugs and when they can obtain the them,
Based on data her organization has collected, Callinan said up to half of patients who have sought the life-ending prescription have died during the 15-day waiting period — which she calls a "suffering period."
Callinan said her group's data shows about 4,300 patients have chosen to pursue medical aid in dying.
The law goes into effect
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* Senate Bill 8 amends sections of state law to allow state and local governments to adopt certain environmental regulations more stringent than federal regulations.
* Senate Bill 40 requires all secondary schools to provide extended learning programs and all elementary schools to provide K-5 Plus or extended learning programs in the next school year unless in-person instruction is prohibited by executive order.
* Senate Bill 49 amends the Local Economic Development Act in several ways, including changing the definition of retail business, removing the noncompete clause for retail businesses and expanding opportunities for a municipality to enter into a project participation agreement with the
* Senate Bill 317 amends the Health Care Purchasing Act and the Insurance Code to prohibit the imposition of cost sharing by health insurers on behavioral health services. It also incorporates the provisions of House Bill 122 to establish a
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