Iowa lawmakers introduced right-to-die bill, joining 9 other states with similar death with dignity laws

Friday, February 14, 2020

IOWA -- Some Iowa state lawmakers want terminally ill adults in their state to have the right to end their own life.

The Iowa End-of-Life Options Act was introduced in the state Senate last week, and in the state House on Thursday, reported CNN.

Under the proposed legislation, an adult deemed terminally ill by physicians would have the right to request medication that they would administer themselves to end their life.

The patient would have to make two oral requests at least 15 days apart, along with a written request to a physician. They would then have to wait 48 hours after submitting the written request before a physician can write the prescription.

Physicians would have to ensure that the patient is an Iowa resident who is capable of making sound decisions of their own accord. Physicians would not be able to administer lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia, and patients would have the right to rescind their request at any time.

Similar bills have previously been introduced in Iowa, but did not advance.

"True compassion for Iowans facing terminal painful deaths means supporting end-of-life medical aid-in-dying options," Democratic state Sen. Joe Bolkcom, who sponsored the bill, said in a news release. "Compassionate, responsible end-of-life medical care must become part of Iowa law."

Nine other states have similar laws

If the bills passed, Iowa would join nine other states, along with Washington D.C., that have so-called "death with dignity" statutes, also known as physician-assisted dying or aid-in-dying laws.

Those other jurisdictions are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • the District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maine
  • Montana (legal by court decision)
  • New Jersey
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • At least 16 other states are considering similar bills, according to Death with Dignity, an organization that advocates for aid-in-dying laws.

    A majority of Americans -- about 72% -- believe that doctors should legally be allowed to help terminally ill patients die at their request, according to a 2018 Gallup poll.

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