Science

Colorado Voted Yes To Physician-Aided Death

By Christie Abagon , Nov 10, 2016 02:28 AM EST

On Tuesday, the state of Colorado passed aid-in-dying measure that will allow terminally ill patients to take their own lives with physican-prescribed sleeping medication.

Death with dignity, as it is called by proponents, had an overwhelming win with a two-thirds vote.  Prop 106, or "End of Life Options", means Colorado is the sixth state, along with Oregon, Washington, California, Montana and Vermont, legalizing aid in dying.   Two physicians would need to agree that the patient is mentally competent, meaning Alzheimer's and the like are not included, and the patient should have less than six months to live.  

Julie Selsberg who worked on the campaign said, "My dad wanted this option for peace of mind in his dying days and, ultimately, for the opportunity of a gentle passing.  Now we know that Coloradans believe that offering the option of medical aid in dying is the kind, compassionate, safe and just thing to do."

Physician-Aided Death For Regaining Dignity And Control?

According to recent studies, majority of terminally-ill patients who choose to end their lives through medication do so not so much for pain but for peace of mind and dignity.  "It's almost never about pain," said California physician Lonny Shavelson, who specializes in the care of the terminally ill. "It's about dignity and control."

"No Assisted Suicide Campain" Pushed By Archdiocese Of Denver

But not everyone is happy.  Opponents of the measure say that aid in dying is morally incorrect and that doctors can make mistakes at the time of the prognosis.  The Archdiocese of Denver donated $1.1 million to the "No Assisted Suicide Campaign," and said "human life is sacred at every stage and should be protected." Jeff Hunt, vice president of public policy for Colorado Christian University said: "We are deeply disappointed and concerned about Colorado legalizing doctor-assisted suicide. The fight is not over."

Colorado voters who responded to Proposition 106 are a broad demographic range.  Hispanics and whites and people with and without college degrees said they backed the proposal. Voters aged 18-44 as wells as those 45 and older strongly backed the legislation.

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