Assisted Suicide Up for Debate

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Some want Connecticut to be the third state in the country to make assisted suicide legal.

    Rep. Betsy Ritter is backing a bill that would allow for assisted suicide for terminally ill patients who are mentally competent.
    It's a controversial piece of legislation. Right now Oregon and Washington are the only two states where it is legal. Both states approved the law by ballot measure.
    Norwalk physician Dr. Gary Block said he's seen patients with cancer or other diseases die a painful, long and suffering death.
    "We're looking at this for a subset of patients for an option, patient choice for death with dignity," Dr. Blick said.
    Supporters of the bill said the terminally ill patient would be the only ones who could request the right to die. A doctor would have to prescribe a certain type of medication.
    "Allowing terminally ill to make this choice represents no risk to people who are vulnerable," Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, the group pushing the legislation in Connecticut, said.
    Opponents of assisted say the law can be easily abused and they point to the fact that 25 state legislatures have voted down similar bills.
    "We oughta focus on cutting edge efforts to manage people's pain, to help people, not to rush people out the door to their own death," Peter Wolfgang, of the Family Institute of Connecticut, said.
    Just this fall Massachusetts voters turned down a referendum that would have allowed for assisted suicide.