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Colorado expands assisted suicide law.

by | Jun 10, 2024

Nearly every state that has legalized assisted suicide has expanded their law

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Colorado Governor Gary Polis signed  Senate Bill 24-068 on June 5 to expand their state assisted suicide law.

Nearly every state that has legalized assisted suicide has expanded their law.

Senate Bill 24-068 expanded the Colorado assisted suicide law by:

  • allowing advanced practice registered nurses to approve and prescribe lethal poison,
  • reducing the waiting period from 15 days to 7 days,
  • allowing the doctor or advanced practice registered nurse to waive the waiting period if the person is near to death,
  • Adding language specifying that if any end-of-life options conflict with requirements to receive federal money, the conflicting part is inoperative and the remainder of the law will continue to operate.

The bill also added language concerning insurance companies:

  • Denying or altering health-care or life insurance benefits otherwise available to a covered individual with a terminal illness based on the availability of medical aid-in-dying;

or

  • Attempting to coerce an individual with a terminal illness to make a request for medical aid-in-dying medication.

The original version of SB 24-068 would have reduced the waiting period to 48 hours and removed the residency requirement for assisted suicide in Colorado.

Most of the states are expanding their assisted suicide laws to allow advanced practice registered nurses to participate because very few doctors participate in assisted suicide.

Nearly every state that has legalized assisted suicide has expanded their laws. 

In 2019 Oregon expanded their assisted suicide law by giving doctors the ability to waive the 15 day waiting period when a person was deemed near to death. In 2023 Oregon removed the residency requirement extending assisted suicide nationally to anyone.

In 2021 California expanded their assisted suicide law by reducing the waiting period from 15 days to 48 hours. It forced doctors who oppose assisted suicide to be complicit in the process (later struck down by the court), and it forced all medical institutions to post their policy on assisted suicide.

In 2022 Vermont expanded their assisted suicide law by removing the 48 hour waiting period, (allowing a same day death), removing the requirement that an examination be done in person, (allowing approvals by telehealth), and  extended legal immunity to anyone who participates in the act.

In 2023 Vermont expanded their assisted suicide law by removing the residency requirement expanding assisted suicide nationally by allowing anyone to die by assisted suicide in Vermont.

In 2023 Washington State expanded their assisted suicide law by allowing advanced practice registered nurses to approve and prescribe lethal poison, by reducing the waiting period to 7 days, and by forcing healthcare institutions and hospices to post their assisted suicide policies.

In 2023 Hawaii expanded their assisted suicide law by reducing the waiting period from 20 days to 5 days, by allowing the waiting period to be waived if the person is near to death, and by allowing advanced practice registered nurses to approve and prescribe lethal poison.

There is currently a lawsuit by the assisted suicide lobby challenging the New Jersey state residency requirement for assisted suicide.

The goal of the assisted suicide lobby is to legalize assisted suicide in more states and to expand the scope of the assisted suicide laws in the states that have legalized assisted suicide.

It must be noted that the American Clinicians Academy on Medical Aid in Dying have determined that when a person, who does not otherwise qualify for assisted suicide, decides to stop eating and drinking, that they will immediately qualify for assisted suicide based on becoming terminally ill.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Mr. Schadenberg’s blog and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Assisted Suicide