Politics

February 8, 2013

Push for assisted suicide gains steam in six states

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

Cathy Ludlum
click image to enlarge

Cathy Ludlum poses for a photograph at her home in Manchester, Conn. on Friday, Feb. 8, 2013. Ludlum, a disabled-rights activist who has spinal muscular atrophy, said she is concerned the state's Public Health Committee has decided to hold the public hearing and worries the issue of doctor-assisted suicide will not go away soon, adding she wants lawmakers to focus more on "giving people a good life than giving people a good death." (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

AP

Last November, voters in Massachusetts narrowly defeated a measure legalizing physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Supporters of the concept said they hoped the debate would continue and marked the beginning of a conversation to improve end-of-life care.

In Connecticut, Dr. Gary Blick, a Norwalk physician who specializes in treating patients with HIV and AIDS, said he believes the time is right for state lawmakers to push ahead with this issue. In 2009, he and Dr. Ron Levine, of Greenwich, along with end-of-life advocates, sued to seek a clarification of the state's decades-old ban on assisted suicide, citing concerns about Connecticut doctors being prosecuted for giving medications to their dying patients.

A judge ultimately dismissed the suit, saying it was a matter for the legislature to decide.

The 1969 Connecticut law says that a person who "intentionally causes or aids another person, other than by force, duress or deception, to commit suicide" is guilty of second-degree manslaughter.

Blick said not all dying patients will want the ability to take their own life, but he said they should be given the choice.

"This is not for everybody. We do realize there are people that do not believe in this for religious beliefs, and I respect that. There are no issues over that," he said.

"But there are those subsets of people that do not want to go through the suffering that they have to go through."

 

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