Lawmakers have removed from the agenda an "assisted suicide bill” fthat would have allowed doctors to prescribe medication to help a terminally ill patient end his or her life.
The bill, HB 6645, that was before the Legislature’s Public Health Committee, would have affected those with less than six months to live and would allow the medication to be given upon request.
State lawmakers had to make their decision before the end of the day today so that the legislation could be sent to the House for further consideration.
Supporters said the legislation was pulled to avoid lengthy discussion or filibuster that could jeopardize other vital bills on the day of the committee’s deadline to raise bills.
“Compassionate Aid in Dying legislation in Connecticut has gained widespread support among lawmakers and in the public, and we look forward to getting out into the community to hold informational hearings and get additional input to prepare for next year’s legislation,” Deputy Speaker Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford, said in a statement on Friday. “I want to thank the Committee's leadership and members for taking up this complex and important issue, and we will continue to work towards its passage next year.”
Last week, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he was still undecided about supporting the proposed bill, according to the Hearst Connecticut Media Group.
He said it is an issue “fraught with fears” and represents religious and societal taboos, and that he has read and reflected on some of the laws in place elsewhere.
Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, said in a statement that she understands that lawmakers are faced with deadlines and competing issues.
“This is an important issue that lawmakers need to carefully consider, and we will work with lawmakers to re-introduce a bill next legislative session,” Coombs Lee said. “Family members, clergy, doctors and nurses came to Hartford last month to show their support for this proposal, and we are confident that it will eventually become law in Connecticut.”
Only two other states, Oregon and Washington, have a bill for assisted suicide.
You can review the proposed bill on the General Assembly’s Web site.