Does State Need a Right-to-Die Law?


How different states treat the right-to-die issue
There’s talk that new legislation will be introduced at the General Assembly that will provide Connecticut with a right-to-die law. It may be time to pass such a law.
According to a Hartford Courant editorial, “The law would allow terminally ill people to obtain lethal medicine from physicians to end their suffering. That’s now illegal in this state.”
It’s been more than 17 years since a public hearing was held on the issue in Connecticut. At that time, religious groups opposed the bill. But, the experience of Oregon, which has had a law in place for 15 years, overcomes those objections, the Courant opines.
It is not the case, for instance, that people with depression or other severe emotional problems have been allowed to kill themselves: Physicians must state that no mental illness is present. The process is lengthy, involving doctors who must certify that the person has six months or less to live. Any request for lethal medication must be witnessed by two other people.
And there’s room for reconsideration on the part of the ill person as well. In Oregon, where a report on each physician-assisted death must be published every year, about 1,000 people have received lethal medication since 1997, but only about 600 have actually used it.
Graphic via Yale Daily News