The Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate are both discussing bills which would allow some terminally ill patients to request medical aid in dying
On Monday, Alec Olas with Minnesota’s KIMT-3 News described how an ‘End of Life Option Act’ is being discussed in both the state’s House of Representatives and Senate, which would allow some terminally ill patients to request medical aid in dying. On the heels of Oregon’s 1997 Death With Dignity Act, ten more states (and Washington D.C.) have since legalized physician-assisted death. As legislators like Rep. Andy Smith (DFL-Rochester) – who co-authored Minnesota House File 1930, which is the companion bill to the Senate File 1813 – work to make their state the next, the press coverage the bill has generated highlights the great deal of interest in medical aid in dying expanding to the Midwest, where states have yet to pass Death with Dignity laws. Read the full article below:
Minnesota lawmakers push bills to legalize medical aid in dying
By Alec Oas Mar 6, 2023 Updated Mar 6, 2023
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate both are discussing bills to create an End of Life Option Act that would allow some terminally ill patients to request medical aid in dying.
This act would permit those suffering from terminal illness that have a prognosis of six months or less to live to request life-ending medication.
There would be specific criteria to qualify, including that the patient must be of sound mind based on psychiatric evaluation and other determining factors so that the decision to self-administer this medication would be made at their own discretion.
Rep. Andy Smith (DFL-Rochester) co-authored one of the bills – House File 1930, which is the companion bill to the Senate File 1813. Each respective bill contains similar literature regarding the legalization of medical aid in dying.
Rep. Smith feels that it is important to make the language explicitly transparent to ensure the patients rights and well-being are protected.
“We want to be careful, right?” said Rep. Smith. “One of the things we would be nervous about here is, for example, someone who stands to gain a lot of money by the death of a parent or an aunt and uncle, sort of either coercing or in some ways getting someone to take this option when they weren’t of sound mind or for bad reasons.”
These preventative measures would ensure that the decision is autonomous and made on the basis of a patient’s wishes, and ensure that a patient is not taken advantage of during a highly vulnerable state of living.
The practice is currently permitted in ten states, as well as Washington D.C. Oregon was the first state in the US to legalize medical aid in dying in 1997 with the passing of the “Death With Dignity Act.”
Many religious groups are concerned about the bill being passed due to how it conflicts with beliefs of a natural death. Other concerns that are being voiced surround the ethics of what is effectively assisted suicide.
Both pieces of legislation are moving forward in the House and Senate and are awaiting committee approval.