Death With Dignity: Should Terminally Ill Patients Be Allowed To Terminate Their Own Lives?

LANSING (WWJ) –  Should Michigan residents suffering from terminal illnesses be allowed to go on their own terms if they’re ready to die? Two Lansing-area politicians think so, and they’re trying to make it a law.

State Representative Tom Cochran is behind the so-called “Death with Dignity” legislation. He says it is absolutely not physician-assisted suicide.

“One, it requires an individual to have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, so they have less than six months to live. They then would have to meet with two separate doctors who would then agree that that person was competent to make this type of decision,” said Cochran. “Once that happens, they as the patient could then request medication that they could self administer that would then terminate their life.”

The law would only apply to those 18 and older, and would prohibit anyone from requesting medication solely because of age or disability. The law does not authorize a physician or any other person to end a patient’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia.

House Democratic Floor Leader Sam Singh, who co-sponsored the legislation, is urging the public to look away from the country’s past debate with assisted suicide and consider supporting compassion instead.

“This all started 20 plus years ago with Dr. Kevorkian. It was resoundingly defeated and the public was not supportive of it, but those sentiments have changed a great deal and a lot more people would like to have this option,” he said. “I think that it’s part of that discussion, it’s part of us having the ability to talk about this as a society, as family, and to make that decision.”

The legislators hope to see movement on the proposal in January.


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