By Chris Haring

In a recent segment for WGN-TV in Chicago, State Senator Linda Holmes and the ACLU of Illinois’ Khadine Bennett discussed the End of Life Options Act.

With the End of Life Options Act (SB3499) introduced into the Illinois legislature in February, the ongoing conversation about medical aid in dying is as crucial as ever. 

Host Paul Lisnek of Chicago’s WGN-TV 9 recently spoke to two right-to-die champions, lead bill sponsor State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) and Khadine Bennett, Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs at the ACLU of Illinois, addressing concerns and dispelling misconceptions about the bill.

Medical aid in dying enjoys broad support in Illinois across all demographics

Sen. Holmes emphasized its broad support across party lines, religions, races, and ethnicities. “I have found, with the number of people contacting me… that it’s lived experience” that proves most compelling for aid-in-dying supporters.

The senator drew from her own experience, sharing anecdotes about her father and mother’s respective battles with cancer, describing their profound impact on her advocacy for physician-assisted death. In particular, if it had been available at the time, she said she believes her mother ”would have chosen to go without suffering as much as she did.”

The End of Life Options Act features strict safeguards shown in other states to protect against abuse

Notably, both Sen. Holmes and Bennett specifically highlighted the rigorous safeguards embedded within the legislation, which includes strict eligibility criteria.

Bennett, a legal advocate, further rejected assertions of a slippery slope and emphasized the need for policymakers to ensure individuals have the resources and autonomy to make decisions aligned with their values and trust them to make the right choices. “People should have the right to choose how they end their lives in a dignified manner,” she said.

Ultimately, despite ongoing concerns and persistent misinformation, Sen. Holmes expressed optimism about the bill’s progress. “I think we’re closer than we’ve ever been” to passing medical aid in dying for Illinois residents, she said.

As the conversation concluded, the message was clear: the End of Life Options Act represents a beacon of hope for terminally ill folks living in Illinois. By championing this legislation, we hope state legislators stand with us in advocacy of autonomy, compassion, and dignity at the end of life.

For more information on the status of Death with Dignity in Illinois, please visit the state page on our website.