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Great News: Connecticut assisted suicide bill dies again

by | May 1, 2023

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

I have great news. The Connecticut assisted suicide bill has died again. This year represents 11 straight years for Connecticut to debate and defeat an assisted suicide bill.

A news article by Hugh McQuaid for the CTNewsJunkie on April 19 reported:

A legislative panel on Wednesday tabled a proposal to allow terminally ill adults in Connecticut to end their own lives with medication, effectively ending the bill’s progress in the Judiciary Committee for the third consecutive year.

Sen. Gary Winfield, a New Haven Democrat who co-chairs the committee, announced that the proposal did not have enough support to pass as he raised it for a discussion during a midday meeting after hours of negotiations.

The assisted suicide bill sponsors, in 2023, intentionally added tighter guidelines in order to get it passed. The opponents of the bill explained that the intention was to get the bill passed, and then similar to other states, to expand the assisted suicide law in future years. McQuaid stated:

Supporters hoped those guard rails would help to win over skeptical members of the Judiciary Committee. It wasn’t enough. During a brief interview Wednesday, Winfield said earlier discussions indicated there was not even close to enough support among the committee members to pass the bill.

McQuaid reported on statements from the Judiciary committee:

“I do not want to put another thing in a lap of someone that is facing life’s difficulties and saying, ‘You also have the option to kill yourself’,” Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said. “I don’t want anyone to have that option, legally, because I think that is a small step from going down the road to now you’re going to be encouraged, if not overtly, implicitly.”

There were concerns about the proposal on both sides of the aisle.

Rep. Steve Stafstrom, a Bridgeport Democrat who co-chairs the committee, spoke of his own father’s terminal cancer diagnosis and the difficult decisions it has brought. He pushed back on characterizations that opposition to the bill stemmed largely from the religious affiliation of legislators.

Instead, Stafstrom said his concerns about the proposal grew throughout this session due to court battles in other states, where lawsuits have sought to scrap safeguards similar to those contemplated under the bill.

“There are still some outstanding issues and we are right to be cautious on it,” Stafstrom said.

Connecticut is the best example of a bipartisan opposition to assisted suicide. Thank you to the disability group, Second Thoughts Connecticut, and to the many people who worked so hard to defeat the bill for eleven consecutive years.

Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog [https://alexschadenberg.blogspot.com/2023/04/great-news-connecticut-assisted-suicide.html] and is reposted with permission.            

Categories: State Legislation
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