Golden Valley Lawmaker Authors End-of-Life Options Bill
Debate began at the state Capitol this week on an issue that’s sure to be a hot topic during the legislative session: Should someone who’s terminally ill be allowed to take medication to end their own life?
That’s a question all state lawmakers could have to answer. The End-of-Life Options Act cleared its first legislative hurdle this week.
“This is a bill that emphasizes personal autonomy at the end of life,” said the bill’s chief author, Rep. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley, during a hearing Thursday. “I have heard very difficult stories from so many Minnesotans, and some have dealt with loved ones dealing with unimaginable suffering. Some have terminal diseases themselves and want an option to end their suffering when it becomes unbearable. This bill gives them that option.”
The bill includes several criteria to qualify:
A person must be above the age of 18, they must be diagnosed with a terminal illness and have a prognosis of six months to live or less, they have to have the mental capacity to make health care decisions and provide informed consent, and they would have to be able to self-administer medication.
Two medical providers would also have to evaluate the patient to make sure they meet the qualifications.
After more than four hours of passionate testimony, the House Health Finance and Policy Committee voted 10-5 in favor of the bill. The committee voted to refer to the bill to the Public Safety Finance and Policy Committee.
Sen. Paul Utke, R-Park Rapids, who’s on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, issued the following statement on the bill:
It’s really no surprise Democrats are continuing with a culture of death in their single-party control. Rather than providing treatment and care for the vulnerable, terminally ill, depressed, and frail, they propose a sanitized ‘medical aid in dying’ approach that just masks a hidden agenda to undermine a person’s right to life.
“We’ve seen the horrifying results of these assisted suicide laws in other states and countries, like doctor shopping by family members to end the life of a loved one, flimsy psychological referrals, and even expanding qualifications to include economic status. A person’s right to life does not depend on their quality of life, mental health, or income. This bill is an extremely dangerous policy that will pit Minnesotans against one another and divide families facing challenging situations.”
Minnesota’s legislative session officially begins on Feb. 12