Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lawmaker Tries Again With Right-To-Die Legislation

Brian Grimmett

A Utah lawmaker is once again proposing legislation that would give terminally ill people the “right to die” with a prescription from their doctor.

Utah House of Representatives Minority Whip Rebecca Chavez-Houck has tried twice to pass legislation that would allow for medical personnel to assist terminally ill patients with drugs to end their lives. Now, she’s trying again for the third time. 

“As long as I’ve got constituencies that are stepping forward and saying yes, thank you, please carry this forward, I’m compelled,” Chavez-Houck says. “It’s something that we need to continue having a discussion about. I don’t want to close the door on these patients who feel so strongly about having this option at hand.”

A poll conducted last year by Dan Jones and Associates showed that a majority of Utahns, 58 percent, favored some kind of right-to-die legislation. But many lawmakers are opposed to it, including Republican Representative and physician Edward Redd.

“You know, when you’re talking about giving a prescription to a patient with the intention that the patient is going to take her or his own life, that’s kind of a big deal to me,” Redd says.

As a doctor and a Mormon, Redd says he doesn’t support the idea. According to the LDS Church website, the church opposes what they call 'euthanasia' or 'assisted suicide.' But Redd says he welcomes the discussion.

“I think it’s important to get both sides of this idea, and look down the road long term, not necessarily the next 20 years, the next 10 years, but 50 or 100 years down the road, what does this really mean?” Redd says. “Once we changed our opinion about whether or not this is OK… you know, where do we stop?”

The issue is expected to come up for discussion in a legislative committee on July 13th.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
KUER is listener-supported public radio. Support this work by making a donation today.