By Chris Haring

Rep. Heather Edelson, a former clinical social worker and current aid-in-dying bill co-author, explained her support for the practice in a recent appearance

As 2023 draws to a close and the promise of a new year dawns, right-to-die advocates across the United States are eagerly anticipating fresh opportunities to expand the legalization of Death with Dignity.

Minnesota advocates hope to join other aid in dying states

In advance of the 2024 legislative session, proponents in states such as Illinois, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin have been actively advocating for the right of people suffering from terminal illnesses to choose when and how they die.

Meanwhile in Minnesota, grassroots activists supporting assisted dying have garnered support from numerous members of the state government in the fight for individual autonomy. Five state senators and two dozen representatives have signed on to the End-of-Life Option Act (SF 1813/HF 1930), which stalled in 2023 but will carry over to the new legislative session.

“Most people want to live,” lawmaker says

In an interview with moderator Shannon Loehrke for Minnesota Senate Media Services’ Capitol Report, co-author Rep. Heather Edelson (DFL-Edina) discusses the bill and explains why she believes the remainder of her colleagues should support medical aid in dying. “I think it’s really important to remember [that] most people want to live,” she said, noting that nearly everybody who chooses it has “probably already exhausted every other option.”

The distinctions between aid in dying and “assisted suicide/euthanasia” are crucial

Additionally, in response to several criticisms often raised by opponents of physician-assisted death, Edelson tactfully addressed the differences between it and “assisted suicide/euthanasia,” thoroughly describing the intricacies involved in determining which requirements a patient should meet to qualify for the practice.

Thanks to the efforts of elected officials like Edelson and other leaders, Minnesota’s End-of-Life Option Act and many other similar bills nationwide are perhaps closer to becoming law than ever. 

However, the representative stressed the importance of the aid-in-dying movement’s role in sustaining our momentum through 2024 and beyond, reminding us that “…from the public, that’s where the laws really come from.”

For more information on how to get involved in efforts to bring a Death with Dignity law to Minnesota, please visit the state page on our website.

Watch the video below:

(Disclaimer: As Rep. Edelson explains during the interview, problematic terms such as “assisted suicide” and “euthanasia” are not interchangeable with “medical aid in dying” and “physician-assisted dying/death.” In fact, jurisdictions with codified Death with Dignity laws specify that medical aid in dying is not suicide, nor a means to assist in suicide, so to call it otherwise is technically and legally inaccurate.)

The End-of-Life Option Act

Minnesota Senate Media Services
Published: 12/1/23