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House Rules Committee Thwarts Bill For End-Of-Life Options

Austen Diamond

A renewed effort to allow terminally ill patients to end their own life with medical help has been cut short.

Rep. Jen Dailey-Provost, D-Salt Lake City, sponsored the bill this year. It’s often referred to by advocates as “death with dignity” legislation.

She said Republicans on the House Rules Committee decided not to advance the bill to a standing committee, meaning it will not even get a public hearing this year.

Critics say there isn’t enough support for it, but Dailey-Provost points out there are newly elected lawmakers who’ve never considered the issue before.

“We have 19 new members of the House and it’s only ever gone to Health and Human Services [committee], and there are several new members on that committee this year who may have a different perspective or opinion,” she said.

Former Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck led the effort for end-of-life options unsuccessfully for years before handing it off to Daily-Provost, who’s new to the legislature herself.

The legislation is modeled after Oregon’s law and would allow terminally ill patients over the age of 18, who have fewer than six months to live, to obtain prescription medications to end their life," said Dailey-Provost.

She said that with recent voter-led efforts to expand medical marijuana and Medicaid, the public is more receptive to health care choices.

“The sentiment is that people need to have more agency and more freedom and more ability to have access,” said Dailey-Provost. “The Legislature, by and large, has a little ways to go to get there.”

So far, only seven states and the District of Columbia have legalized physician-assisted suicide.

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