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Committee fails to act on Aid-in-Dying bill

The General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee failed to act on the aid-in-dying legislation by Tuesday's deadline meaning the proposal that would have enabled doctors to prescribe medication to a terminally ill patient to end their life will not go forward.  The legislation would apply to mentally competent patients who have less than six months to live. 

Redding state Senator Will Haskell says the bill was constructed to prevent any misuse and abuse, noting that nine other states and the District of Columbia have passed similar legislation. 

The Public Health Committee advanced the bill by a 24-9 vote.

The state’s division of criminal justice testified that the signer of a death certificate would be allowed to list the qualified patient’s underlying terminal illness as the cause of death as opposed to the medication used to end his or her life, effectively mandating the falsification of death certificates under certain circumstances.  The division said that could cause issues in cases involving a potential murder prosecution if the cause of death is not accurately reported on a death certificate.  Under the bill, a person would be guilty of murder if he or she willfully altered or forged a request for aid in dying or coerced someone to complete such a request.

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