But she does know the difference that choice made in the deaths of her sister and a friend of theirs, who lived just five miles apart but in separate states, a few years ago.
Her sister Joan, who was suffering from intense pain and could barely swallow as a result of her respiratory disease, lived in
"That is something I think someone should have: the option to choose," Anne said. "Not forced, but choose -- that's important."
Supporters like Smith and her husband, Ray, argue that many patients in states that allow the practice never take the lethal pills they were prescribed, yet take comfort in knowing they have that option.
Smith, who is 86 and recently moved from
"Why oppose it if it's an option only?" Smith asked. "I'm for individual choices."
Prognoses can be wrong
Among those speaking out against the bill is
She also argues that terminally ill patients may suffer depression that clouds their judgment, and that insurance companies may try to coax patients to request a lethal pill rather than continue expensive medical care. What dying patients truly need, she says, is better palliative care.
"That's what people deserve at the end of life," Hanson said, recalling her own difficulty in finding hospice care in
Polls and priests are split
A majority of
Opponents include the
But doctors are split on the issue. Testifying in support of the bill in hearings last year was Dr.
"This is not suicide," said Carpenter, who is one of
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