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Utah re-attempts end-of-life legislation

In the American state Utah, Jennifer Dailey-Provost (D-Salt Lake City) is attempting to bring back a bill that would give people with terminal illness the right to die by getting a prescription from their physician.

Dailey-Provost is planning to run the legislation for a fourth time. She follows in the footsteps of her predecessor, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, who also attempted to pass this kind of legislation. Last year the bill got stuck in the rules committee.

The legislation has a set of strict guidelines for physicians to prescribe the medication. Under the bill, a patient must be an adult, mentally capable and suffer from an incurable or irreversible disease that would result in death within six months.

Margaret Battin, a philosophy and internal medicine professor at the University of Utah, has advocated for physician aid-in-dying for years. Battin said with this type of legislation there are several safeguards in place so it doesn’t become misused or abused. “I think you’d want to know about how central it is that it be voluntary on the part of the patient,” she said. “There is no room here for a family member to say ‘This patient wants that’ or a doctor to say, ‘Well, we need to do this.’ There’s no room for that…any violation of that is a felony.”

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