Target: George Jepsen, Connecticut Attorney General
Goal: Let terminally ill patients have the right to medical prescriptions that will peacefully end their life with dignity.
Death with dignity laws make it possible for terminally ill patients to end their lives with medical prescriptions and end their lives peacefully instead of experiencing a painful and drawn out death. A poll conducted earlier in 2015 showed that 64 percent of Connecticut residents support a death with dignity law. The Judiciary Committee decided not to bring the bill to a vote, thus killing the legislation. The Connecticut bill was similar to Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and would have allowed terminally ill patients, who met certain requirements, to obtain and use life-ending medication.
The Connecticut bill, like Oregon, required the patient to make a written request for medication, stating that he or she is of sound mind, a state resident, has a terminal disease, and has six months or less left to live. In Oregon, there is a waiting period of 15 days before a second written request may be made and a two-day hold once the prescription is brought to the pharmacy.
Both states require two doctors to confirm the diagnosis and the patient requirements. They both also call for two witnesses to the written requests. One must not be related to the patient, not stand to gain by the death, and not be associated with a health care facility where the patient is being treated. Patients also must be given the opportunity to rescind the request. If an attending physician suspects mental illness or depression, the physician can refer the patient for psychiatric evaluation. Neither state requires such an evaluation.
Opponents feared that patients, especially within the disabled community, could be coerced into taking the medication. Proponents argue that the bill had safeguards to prevent such coercion. In Oregon, the majority of requests for the prescriptions are not asking for what is happening at the moment. Rather, they see their situations as evolving and enabling them to have control over their pain and suffering.
By signing this petition, you will urge the Honorable George Jepsen, Attorney General of Connecticut to continue to pursue ‘right to die’ legislation in Connecticut. Everybody deserves to die with dignity.
Dear Attorney General Jepsen,
My life. My death. My choice. These six words are important for a terminally patient that is suffering from increasing pain with no hope for a cure. More than 64 percent of Connecticut residents support the Death with Dignity bill that did not become a law.
Opponents fear that patients will be coerced into requesting the medication necessary to end their lives. The safeguards written into the law would ensure that this does not occur. Terminally ill patients want to control the circumstances of their death as they cannot control the circumstances of their illness.
The Oregon Death with Dignity Act has been successful and respectful of those making the difficult decision to control their deaths. Connecticut must follow suit and allow its residents to take charge of their lives and their deaths. We, the undersigned, urge you to ensure that a death with dignity bill be brought to vote in 2016. Please stop unnecessary suffering and pain in the terminally ill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gianfranco Bella