Take Action to stop Physician Assisted Suicide poison in NJ!

Update:  The Senate Health Committee released A2451/2474 from Committee on 11/3/16 by a vote of 5-3 with one abstention.  Please take the action listed below immediately!

The full Assembly passed A2451, the Physician Assisted Suicide bill on 10/20/16.

Below is the 10/20/16 Assembly Roll Call Vote on A2451.

Action needed:  Call your state Senator and urge him/her to vote NO on A2451/S2474, Then call Gov Christie and urge him to veto A2451/S2474 if reaches his desk.

Phone # for Governor:  609 292 6000.  You can also take action by clicking on the “legislation” heading from this webpage and taking action on the third item that is titled, “No Assisted Suicide.” Thank you!

Asm.  10/20/2016  –  3RDG FINAL PASSAGE   –  Yes {41}  No {29}  Not Voting {5}  Abstains {5}  –  Roll Call

Andrzejczak, Bob – Yes Auth, Robert – No Barclay, Arthur – Yes
Benson, Daniel R. – Yes Bramnick, Jon M. – No Brown, Chris A. – No
Bucco, Anthony M. – No Burzichelli, John J. – Yes Caputo, Ralph R. – No
Caride, Marlene – Yes Carroll, Michael Patrick – No Chaparro, Annette – Yes
Chiaravalloti, Nicholas – Abstain Ciattarelli, Jack M. – Yes Clifton, Robert D. – No
Conaway, Herb, Jr. – Abstain Coughlin, Craig J. – Yes Dancer, Ronald S. – No
Danielsen, Joe – Yes DeAngelo, Wayne P. – Yes DeCroce, BettyLou – No
DiMaio, John – No Downey, Joann – Yes Egan, Joseph V. – No
Eustace, Tim – Yes Giblin, Thomas P. – Not Voting Gove, DiAnne C. – No
Green, Jerry – Yes Greenwald, Louis D. – Yes Gusciora, Reed – Yes
Handlin, Amy H. – No Holley, Jamel C. – Yes Houghtaling, Eric – Yes
Howarth, Joe – No Jasey, Mila M. – Yes Jimenez, Angelica M. – Yes
Johnson, Gordon M. – Yes Jones, Patricia Egan – Yes Karabinchak, Robert J. – Abstain
Kean, Sean T. – No Kennedy, James J. – Yes Lagana, Joseph A. – Yes
Lampitt, Pamela R. – Yes Land, R. Bruce – Yes Mazzeo, Vincent – Yes
McGuckin, Gregory P. – No McKeon, John F. – Yes McKnight, Angela V. – Yes
Moriarty, Paul D. – Yes Mosquera, Gabriela M. – Yes Mukherji, Raj – Not Voting
Munoz, Nancy F. – No Muoio, Elizabeth Maher – Abstain O’Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. – Yes
Oliver, Sheila Y. – No Peterson, Erik – No Phoebus, Gail – No
Pinkin, Nancy J. – No Pintor Marin, Eliana – Yes Prieto, Vincent – Yes
Quijano, Annette – Yes Rible, David P. – No Rodriguez-Gregg, Maria – Not Voting
Rumana, Scott T. – Not Voting Rumpf, Brian E. – No Russo, David C. – No
Schaer, Gary S. – No Schepisi, Holly – Abstain Singleton, Troy – Yes
Space, Parker – Not Voting Sumter, Shavonda E. – Yes Taliaferro, Adam J. – Yes
Tucker, Cleopatra G. – No Vainieri Huttle, Valerie – Yes Watson, Blonnie R. – No
Webber, Jay – No Wimberly, Benjie E. – Yes Wisniewski, John S. – Yes
Wolfe, David W. – No Zwicker, Andrew – Yes

**Updated 8/2/16 ** Physician Assisted Suicide Bill (A2451/S2474) Reintroduced in Both Houses. Take Action

stop physician assisted suicide

 

**Updated 8/2/16**

“No matter how much proponents try to portray their support for this misguided bill as compassionate, the reality is that the bill is anything but,” said Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life. “The legislation is deeply flawed and will place the lives of our most vulnerable populations at risk of misdiagnosis, coercion and abuse.”

Senator Nicholas Scutari (D-22) reintroduced The Senate version of the Physician Assisted Suicide bill (S2474) on August 1, 2016.  According to an article written by Star Ledger reporter Sue Livio,  proponents are pushing for action on the bill by the fall of 2016.  Read the article

 

 

Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3) reintroduced the Physician Assisted Suicide Bill (2451) in February of 2016.  The text of the new bill, A2451, is now available on-line, is the identical to the previous version.  We expect the Senate version to be introduced shortly.

Background on NJ Physician Assisted Legislation

The previous bill (A2270/S382) passed the NJ Assembly by one vote on November 13,  2014, but failed to garner enough support in the NJ Senate, and consequently, expired in the last session.  Read the January 12, 2016 Press Release from the Alliance Against Doctor Prescribed Suicide here

11/13/14 State Assembly Vote

To see how your Two Assembly Members voted on November 13, 2014 and for background information on the Assembly legislative process in the last session, please click here

More information on efforts to legalize physician assisted suicide in NJ can be found on our webpages.

Take Action:

If you don’t know who your legislators are, go to the tab on the njrtl webpage marked, “Legislation” and add your 9 digit zip code.  Once you add your 9 digit zip code, click “Go.  A page will open that will provide pictures and names of your federal and state elected officials. (Helpful hint:  you will need to use the scroll bar on the right hand side and scroll down to the bottom of the page to find your State Senator and Two Assembly Members.)

If your Two State Assembly Members voted No previously, please contact them and thank them for their No vote. Urge them to vote No again on A2451/S2474 if it comes up for a vote.

If your Two State Assembly Members Voted Yes, please contact them and tell them you are disappointed in their vote and that you expect them to vote No on A2451/S2474 if it comes up again.

If one or two of your State Assembly members are newly elected, schedule a meeting to speak with them and educate them about the dangers of Bill A2451/S2474.

Assisted Suicide bill dies in NJ Senate: An Important Victory That Bolsters Opposition Nationwide

NJassisted suicide

 

 

For Immediate Release

January 12, 2016

 

Contact: Tim Rosales

929.244.3297

Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in New Jersey Senate

An important victory that bolsters opposition nationwide

Trenton, NJ – “The New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide applauds the New Jersey Senate for recognizing the dangers to older people and those with disabilities and allowing S 382, legislation to legalize assisted suicide, to die without a vote on the floor of the Senate,” stated Kate Blisard of Not Dead Yet.   “People are surprised to learn that all major national disability groups that have taken a position on the issue oppose the legalization of assisted suicide because the dangers of misdiagnosis, coercion and abuse put us at great risk.”

 

“A bi-partisan group of New Jersey Senators took the time to listen to the disability-rights community and to understand why it is important that doctor-prescribed suicide not become law in New Jersey,” continued Democratic Senator Peter Barnes. “It became clear that this bill would have a detrimental impact on vulnerable populations and expose them to abuse, coercion and possible denial of health care because it costs more than suicide drugs. While the bill’s few, vocal supporters educated legislators as to their personal concerns, it became clear that there are other solutions than doctor-prescribed suicide to address end-of-life pain.  For that reason, there was never a groundswell of support for this bill and, on balance, we heard from many more voices opposed to this bill.”

 

The New Jersey Alliance exposed the following flaws in S 382:

 

  • No requirement of mental health evaluation or pain relief consultation.
  • Permits an heir to witness a death request.
  • Requires no oversight on whether the patient was willing to take the lethal drugs.
  • No requirement that a medical person be present to supervise the ingestion of lethal drugs.
  • Allows a third party familiar with how the patient communicates to make the death request.
    • Permits lethal drugs to remain in a patient’s home without securing them.
    • Relies on the inaccurate premise that a doctor can predict death within six months.
    • No distinction as to whether the death prediction is with or without treatment of the patient.
    • No required notification of family members.
    • Immunizes from prosecution anyone participating in administering lethal drugs,  even if their participation was coercive and out of self-interest
    • Falsely certifies the cause of death.

 

The New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide is a broadly-based, diverse coalition of organizations strongly opposed to the legalization of assisted suicide.  Alliance organizations include:

 

Resources for Independent Living

Dial, Inc. Center for Independence

Center for Independent Living

Heightened Independence and Progress – Bergen

Heightened Independence and Progress — Hudson

Progressive Center for Independent Living

Total Living Center

National Council on Independent Living

Not Dead Yet

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living

United Spinal Association

New Jersey Catholic Conference

New Jersey Right to Life

New Jersey Family Policy Council

American Academy of Medical Ethics

 

The Alliance website is located at www.noassistedsuicidenj.org. It can also be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NoAssistedSuicideNJ/ and followed on Twitter at: @NoNJSuicide

 

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The Dangerously Contagious Effect of Assisted Suicide laws

assisted suicide not safe

Action: Contact your State Senator today and urge him or her to Vote No on S382, The Physician Assisted Suicide bill!

You can obtain your Senator’s contact information by calling 1-800-792-8630 or visiting the NJ Legislature webpage HERE

 

Opinion: The dangerously contagious effect of assisted-suicide laws

By Aaron Kheriaty November 20, 2015

Published in the Washington Post

Aaron Kheriaty is an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the medical ethics program at the University of California at Irvine School of Medicine. This piece is adapted from a longer commentary that appeared in the Southern Medical Journal in October.

The debate over doctor­assisted suicide is often framed as an issue of personal autonomy and privacy. Proponents argue that assisted suicide should be legalized because it affects only those individuals who — assuming they are of sound mind — are making a rational and deliberate choice to end their lives. But presenting the issue in this way ignores the wider social consequences. What if it turns out that the individuals who make this choice in fact are influencing the actions of those who follow?

Ironically, on the same day that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed the bill to legalize physician­assisted suicide in California last month, an important study was published by British scholars David Jones and David Paton demonstrating that legalizing assisted suicide in other states has led to a rise in overall suicide rates — assisted and unassisted — in those states. The study’s key findings show that, after controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors and other state­specific issues, physician­assisted suicide is associated with a 6.3 percent increase in total suicide rates. These effects are greater for individuals older than 65 (for whom the associated increase was 14.5 percent). The results should not surprise anyone familiar with the literature on the social contagion effects of suicidal behavior. You don’t discourage suicide by assisting suicide.

Consider what social scientists call the Werther effect — the fact that publicized cases of suicide can produce clusters of copycat cases, often disproportionately affecting young people, who frequently use the same method as the original case. The name comes from Goethe’s 18th­century novel “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” in which the protagonist, thwarted in his romantic pursuits, takes his own life with a pistol. After the publication of this immensely popular book, authorities in Germany noted a rash of suicides among young men using the same means. This finding has been replicated many times since in rigorous epidemiological studies, including research demonstrating this effect following cases of doctor­assisted suicide.

Because this phenomenon is well validated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and the U.S. surgeon general have published strict journalistic guidelines for reporting on suicides to minimize this effect. It is demoralizing to note that these guidelines were widely ignored in the reporting of recent instances of assisted suicide, with the subject’s decision to end his or her life frequently presented in the media as inspiring and even heroic.

A related phenomenon influences suicide trends in the opposite direction, however; the so­called Papageno effect suggests that coverage of people with suicidal ideation who do not attempt suicide but instead find strategies that help them to cope with adversity is associated with decreased suicide rates. The name comes from a lovesick character in Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute,” whose planned suicide is averted by three child spirits who remind him of alternatives to death. The case of Valentina Maureira, a 14­year­old Chilean girl who made a YouTube video begging her government for assisted suicide, illustrates the Werther and Papageno effects. Maureira admitted that the idea to end her life began after she heard about the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29 ­year­ old woman with terminal brain cancer who campaigned prominently for the right to assisted suicide before ending her life last year. But Maureira changed her mind after meeting another young person also suffering from the same disease, cystic fibrosis, who conveyed a message of hope and encouraged her to persevere in the face of adversity. With our laws, we can encourage vulnerable individuals in one of these two directions: the path of Werther or the path of Papageno.

Aside from publicized cases, there is evidence that suicidal behavior tends to spread person to person through social networks, up to three “degrees of separation” away. So my decision to take my own life would affect not just my friends’ risk of doing the same, but even my friends’ friends’ friends. No person is an island.

Finally, it is widely acknowledged that the law is a teacher: Laws shape the ethos of a culture by affecting cultural attitudes toward certain behaviors and influencing moral norms. Laws permitting physician­assisted suicide send a message that, under especially difficult circumstances, some lives are not worth living — and that suicide is a reasonable or appropriate way out.

This is a message that will be heard not just by those with a terminal illness but also by anyone tempted to think he or she cannot go on any longer. Debates about physician­assisted suicide raise broad questions about our societal attitudes toward suicide.

Recent research findings on suicide rates press the question: What sort of society do we want to become? Suicide is already a public health crisis. Do we want to legalize a practice that will worsen this crisis?

California Assisted Suicide Bill Stalled in Assembly Health Committee

On July 7, 2015, members of the California Assembly Health Committee pulled the bill after lack of support due to serious concerns about the bill.

Physician Assisted suicide legislation has been introduced in 24 states, To date, none of these bills have passed. A NJ bill (A2270/S382) passed the full Assembly in November of 2014 and was released from the Senate Health Committee on December 15, 2014 without recommendation.  It is still pending a full vote in the NJ Senate.Since January, 2015, physician assisted suicide legislation was defeated in Connecticut, Maryland, Delaware, Colorado, Wyoming, Maine Utah, Rhode Island and Nevada.

Please continue to call, email and meet with your State Senator to urge him/her to Vote No on A2270/S382.  Please also call the Governor 609 292 6000 and urge him to veto this bill if it reaches his desk. Thank you.

California assisted death bill finished for the year

Senate Bill 128 stalls in Assembly Health Committee

Physician Assisted Suicide bill fails in Maine

Despite passage by the House, Senate support falls one vote short.

AUGUSTA – Maine lawmakers have defeated a bill that would have allowed doctors to provide lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients.

Republican Sen. Roger Katz’s bill died Tuesday because the Senate and House failed to agree on the bill.

Katz and other supporters said that people who don’t have much time left to live should be free to end their life when they are ready. But opponents said lawmakers should focus on expanding access to palliative care. They said they feared it would send the message that the state of Maine condones suicide.

 

Delaware Legislature Tables Physician Assisted Suicide Bill

Delaware seal

Physician-assisted suicide tabled in Health committee

Lawmakers on Wednesday stalled legislation in committee that would allow terminally-ill patients to request medication to end their own life.

Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, said he requested that lawmakers on the House Health & Human Development Committee keep the ‘Death with Dignity’ legislation in committee.

“We knew when we filed the bill that we did not yet have a critical mass of support, but what we also knew was that the bill and the issue needs to be heard…,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we will continue to learn about this issue and see whether, and how we wish to proceed.”

Baumbach said he has plans to introduce a bill that would establish a task force exploring end of life treatment and choices in Delaware.

“Hopefully we’ll over the next six months we’ll have public meetings to learn more and hear more from each other and find best practices across the country,” he added.

By tabling the bill, lawmakers on the committee can always bring it back for a vote until June 30, 2016.

Patients would have to have an incurable and irreversible disease expected to end their life within six months. Two doctors would have to confirm the diagnoses, according to the legislation.

They would also have to be informed of all alternatives, including hospice care, and a mental health consultation is required if either doctor suspects any mental illnesses, like depression.

There is a three-step process for patients to receive the life-ending medicine, according to the legislation. A patient would have to make the initial request, then there would be a 15-day wait, another request, then a two-day wait, and then the patient would receive the prescription pills. After ninety days the initial request would expire.

According to the legislation patients can rescind their request at any time.

Doctors and healthcare providers are also able to choose whether or not they participate and can opt-out as well. Doctors and healthcare providers are protected from any retaliation under the legislation, according to the bill.

Oregon, Vermont and Washington have similar laws. Court decisions in Montana and New Mexico also have allowed the practice in those states.

Contact Jon Offredo at (302) 678-4271, on Twitter @JonOffredo or joffredo@delawareonline.com

 

Physician Assisted Suicide Bill Fails in Connecticut

CT

Aid-In-Dying Bill Fails To Get A Vote By Legislative Committee
Aid-In-Dying
Tim Appleton, Connecticut campaign manager for Compassion and Choices, spoke in favor of aid-in-dying legislation at the Capitol on March 16. (Michael McAndrews)
By Daniela Altimari contact the reporter Laws and Legislation Connecticut General Assembly

Aid-in-dying bill fails to come to a vote in the legislature’s Judiciary Committee
HARTFORD — For the third time in three years, aid-in-dying legislation has stalled at the state Capitol.

Advocates on both sides of the emotional issue say the legislature’s Judiciary Committee has opted not to vote on House Bill 7015, which would have permitted terminally ill patients to request a doctor’s help to end their lives. The measure is unlikely to move forward without the committee’s endorsement.

“Each year that lawmakers fail to act prolongs the suffering for thousands of terminally ill Connecticut residents and the people who love them,” said Tim Appleton, Connecticut campaign director for Compassion & Choices, a national group promoting aid-in-dying legislation in statehouses around the nation.

Letting Important Bills Die Is A Craven Way To Govern
Letting Important Bills Die Is A Craven Way To Govern
Supporters said the proposal would have allowed mentally competent patients with fewer than six months to live the chance for a dignified death, free of pain.

“About 7,000 people will die from cancer this year in Connecticut without having this choice. Many will endure painful deaths. They should have the choice — to die peacefully, with dignity, and on their terms,” Appleton said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

Critics denounced the concept as “assisted suicide” and said it devalues life and leaves people with disabilities vulnerable to coercion.
Led by the Catholic bishops, a broad coalition that includes disability rights activists, hospice providers and the Connecticut State Medical Society joined together to stop the bill. The church funded a multimedia ad campaign aimed at swaying public opinion against the proposal.

Michael C. Culhane, executive director of the Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference, said he was “thrilled” but not surprised by the committee’s decision to forgo a vote on the bill. Opponents have been counting votes since the bill was drafted in February and knew support was weak, he said.

Culhane said the measure’s failure to move forward was due to a large and diverse coalition that worked together to persuade legislators that the bill was bad public policy.

“It was a collective effort that produced the results that were announced today,” he said.

Catholic Church Poised For Pivotal Role In Aid-In-Dying Bill
Catholic Church Poised For Pivotal Role In Aid-In-Dying Bill
Appleton had strong words for the Catholic Church. “The Church lobby has a history of driving fear of change, and they are spending an incredible amount of funds trying to do just that in Connecticut,” he said.

The bill was the subject of a long and often emotional public hearing last month, drawing hundreds of people who shared raw, often personal stories of a loved one’s demise or their own struggle with a terminal illness.

In the three times the legislature has considered such a bill since 2013, the bills never received a committee vote, one of the first steps in the legislative process. In theory, the concept could be raised on the floor of the House or the Senate as an amendment, but most observers consider that unlikely.

“We would urge the General Assembly to focus on improving hospice, palliative care and home care … rather than continue to waste time on an issue that has now been rejected three years in a row without a committee vote,” said Stephen Mendelsohn, a disability rights activist with the group Second Thoughts Connecticut. “Three strikes and you are out.”

Appleton and other supporters remain confident the concept eventually will win approval in Connecticut. They point to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted last month that found nearly 2-to-1 support for aid-in-dying.
“Civil rights issues such as gay marriage took many years to gain approval in Connecticut, and today the majority of people cannot imagine a time when marriage equality was not fully accepted here,” Appleton said. “Today, 63 percent of Connecticut voters support aid-in-dying, a percentage that has increased from previous years. We believe that, like gay marriage and other issues of personal choice, aid in dying will continue to gain support and approval by the legislature. Aid-in-dying will eventually become the law in Connecticut.”

Three states — Oregon, Washington and Vermont — have laws allowing doctors to prescribe lethal medications to terminally ill patients. Courts in both New Mexico and Montana have found aid in dying legal, and a lawsuit seeking a similar ruling was recently filed in New York.

Meanwhile, an aid-in-dying bill is moving through the California legislature, fueled in part by the death of brain cancer patient Brittany Maynard, who moved from California to Oregon because she sought a physician’s help in ending her life. California’s End of Life Option Act cleared the Senate judiciary committee earlier this week.

But other states have rejected the concept. Voters in Massachusetts defeated a 2012 ballot initiative that would have legalized aid-in-dying.

Culhane said he expects proponents to continue trying to win approval in Connecticut.

“I assume they’re going to be back,” Culhane said. “The concept of aid-in-dying is being pursued across the country and the proponents would love to grab a success.”

Copyright © 2015, Hartford Courant

Maryland Lawmakers pull the plug on Physician Assisted Suicide bill

MD flag

 

Death with dignity’ bill extinguished without a vote
By Erin Cox

The Baltimore Sun
contact the reporter Maryland General Assembly

Lawmakers pull plug on ‘death with dignity’ bill without a vote.
Right-to-die legislation that sparked emotional debate in Annapolis will not be voted on this year.
Maryland leaders delay any action on right-to-die bills until next year.
Hope ended Wednesday for those who wanted Maryland to pass a “death with dignity” law this year.

Leaders of two key committees considering a bill that would have allowed doctors to prescribe medicine to help terminally ill patients end their lives decided not to vote on the proposal, effectively killing it.

“It’s a good approach,” Del. Shane Pendergrass, a Howard County Democrat who pushed the legislation. “These kinds of large issues take a certain amount of deliberating,” she said. “They also require some time for people to think about this. We have a lot of freshmen who want to go back to their districts, that they’re not used to representing, and see what they people think.”

Key negotiators said it became clear that the proposal might have had enough votes to pass out of a joint House Committee, but it could spur a bruising debate on the floor. House leaders said they decided to forgo a vote rather than undertake a potentially losing one.

Opponents of the law celebrated its quiet death.

“We are absolutely delighted that the committees realized that this bill would not work for Marylanders,” said Sam Crane, director of public policy for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and a member of the MD Coalition Against Physician Assisted Suicide.

Crane’s group, religious organizations, mental health groups and disability advocates had argued that the bill would sanction death for people who relied on others to care for them and could put some the state’s most vulnerable populations at risk.

Maryland was among more than 15 states weighing right-to-die legislation this year, part of a nationwide movement sparked by the advocacy of 29-year-old brain tumor patient Brittany Maynard.

Maynard drew attention by chronicling the final months of her life. She ended it last fall under a right-to-die law in Oregon, one of only five states with such a policy.
The spate of legislation is a rapid reversal from 15 years ago, when states across the country banned physician-assisted suicide in response to the efforts of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. Maryland made the practice a felony in 1999.

The bill would have allowed patients with a terminal diagnosis and a prognosis of less than six months to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug. The patient would have been required to take the drug without assistance.

Former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance traveled to Annapolis this year to ask lawmakers to reject state-sanctioned death for people with terminal conditions.

Brigance, who was diagnosed in 2007 with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis — Lou Gehrig’s disease — speaks through a machine. He told lawmakers that choosing to live with his degenerative condition has “done a greater good for society in eight years than my previous 37 years on earth.”

ecox@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Colorado Rejects Physician Assisted Suicide: Time for NJ to do the same

Colorado against pas

Colorado Rejects Right-to-Die Legislation

Colorado lawmakers rejected a proposal to give dying patients the option to seek doctors’ help ending their lives, concluding a long day of emotional testimony from more than 100 people.

For one lawmaker who voted no, the issue was personal. Tearfully telling her colleagues she was a cancer survivor, Democratic Rep. Dianne Primavera recalled how a doctor told her she wouldn’t live more than five years.

But she found a doctor who gave her a different opinion.

“And he took me in his care, and I am here today 28 years later,” she said.

Doctors who opposed the measure told lawmakers earlier that allowing dying patients to seek life-ending medications from a physician closed off the possibility of a recovery when a prognosis can sometimes be wrong.

A House committee considering the bill voted 8-5 against it after dozens of people with serious illnesses and others who have seen relatives suffer packed the Colorado legislative hearing.

The vote comes as a handful of other states, including California and Pennsylvania, consider laws to allow the terminally ill get doctor-prescribed medication to die.

Five states allow patients to seek aid in dying: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico.

“This bill represents a very personal freedom that for some is taken away in the final stages of their illness,” said Democratic Rep. Joann Ginal, one of the bill sponsors. “Physicians give patients the best possible care. But there comes a time when a physician is no longer able to heal.”

Religious organizations opposed the measure, saying it facilitated suicide. But supporters argued that terminally ill patients should control when they die.

The story of Brittany Maynard last year spotlighted the debate over whether doctors should be able to prescribe life-ending medication to patients. Maynard, 29, moved from California to Oregon after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer so she could use that state’s law. She died Nov. 1.

Colorado’s bill was modeled after Oregon’s. It would have required dying patients to get two doctors to sign off on their oral and written requests to end their lives. The patients also would have needed to be found to be mentally competent and be able to administer the life-ending medication themselves.

One of the opponents to the bill, Carrie Ann Lucas, spoke on behalf of Not Dead Yet, a New-York based disability rights group.

Lucas uses a wheelchair and ventilator because of a neuromuscular disease. She told lawmakers that she worries the proposal would make it easy for a disabled person who is depressed to get medication from a doctor. Without her ventilator, Lucas told lawmakers, she would have only hours to live. And, she said, if she were to get depressed, she thinks she could go to a doctor who doesn’t know her well to get the drugs.

“And they probably would give me that lethal prescription instead of referring me to mental-health treatment that I would so desperately need,” said Lucas, 43.

Boulder resident David Hibbard, 77, told lawmakers that as a hospice physician for the past 15 years, he knows what to expect once his Parkinson’s disease and leukemia advance.

“I will be hunched over, either bed-bound or in a wheelchair,” he said, his hands shaking as he spoke. He would be unable to talk and feed himself, Hibbard told lawmakers.

“I don’t want to endure this scenario, and I certainly don’t want to have my family, my wife and my three children, have to endure watching me go through this rapid deterioration,” he said.

Lawmakers hearing the bill raised concerns about whether there are enough safeguards to prevent abuse, such a family member advocating for life-ending medications on behalf of a dying relative. Lawmakers also wondered what would happen if the medications are not used, and whether someone other than the patient could then take them.

One lawmaker, Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, said he worries Colorado could become a state known for “suicide tourism” if the bill passes.

The Colorado legislation was inspired by Charles Selsberg, 77, who urged legislators to take on the issue with an editorial published in The Denver Post shortly before his death a year ago. Selsberg died of ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

His daughter, Julie Selsberg, wiped away tears after the vote. She supported the bill.

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