A bill going before state lawmakers would allow mentally competent patients who have less than six months to live to obtain a prescription from a doctor for a lethal dose of medication.
Senate Bill 88 is called Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Patients.
Over the course of nearly 30 years, since 1994, the concept has come up in Connecticut at least 14 times.
In 2021, the bill was approved by a legislative committee for the first time, but it never came up for a full vote in either the state House of Representatives or the Senate.
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During the public health committee forum Wednesday, there was passionate testimony from folks who support and those who oppose the bill.
Herbert Hoffman’s daughter died five weeks ago and he is a cancer patient himself.
He shared what he wants the end of his life to look like.
“My primary desire to access medical aid in dying is not depression, I am not suicidal,” Hoffman said. “I have seen the devastating progression of cancer up close and I am very aware of what is ahead of me. I want my freedom to end my life when and how I choose.”
There are others who said they’ve seen death up close and want the process to remain natural.
“It undermines the physician-patient relationship. It undermines the law pertaining to cause of death” State Rep. Mark Anderson said. “It undermines health insurance. It undermines life insurance. It undermines family relationships. Physician-assisted suicide is a leap into a very dark abyss. Please do not jump into that abyss.”
The legislation would require that the individual must have a terminal diagnosis, be 18 or older and have less than six months to live.
One would have to make a case to one to two medical professionals and get their sign-off. Then it would be several weeks before they would receive the first dose of the prescription.
If Connecticut does pass this legislation, it would join the District of Columbia and nine other states that have passed similar laws.