The battle over assisted dying is continuing in US legislatures, with various jurisdictions debating bills that would ‘outlaw’ or ‘condemn’ euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Hawaii: A bill to create a physician-assited suicide regime modellled on Oregon's system sailed through the State Senate this week, by a vote of 22 to 3, despite some heartfelt speech from a senator who survived pancreatic cancer. The bill now moves to the House.
Montana: A bill to criminalise doctor's participation in assisted suicide was recently defeated on a tied vote. The bill would have nullified a controversial 2009 Montana Supreme Court ruling that found that there was nothing in state law that prohibits a physician from helping a patient to commit suicide.
Kansas: a House of Representatives Committee this week heard testimony in favour of a resolution that “condemns” physician assisted suicide and promotes improvements to palliative care. Resolution No. 5010, which mirrors model legislation drafted by the lobby group Americans United for Life, calls on the legislature to oppose assisted suicide, “because anything less than a prohibition leads to foreseeable abuses and eventually to euthanasia by devaluing human life, particularly the lives of the terminally ill, elderly, disabled and depressed”.
Washington DC: A Death with Dignity Act became effective on February 20. Although the US Congress has the power to override DC laws, it missed a statutory deadline, so physician-assisted suicide is currently legal in the nation's capital. Opponents in Congress plan to use other measures to nullify the DC law.
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