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Hearing Today for Nevada Aid-In-Dying Bill

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Wednesday, April 7, 2021   

CARSON CITY, Nev. - A bill to allow terminally ill people to get a prescription to end their lives will be heard in the state Assembly Health and Human Services Committee at 1:30 p.m. today.

Assembly Bill 351, known as the End of Life Options Act, would give that option to adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness by two doctors, and whose diagnosis indicates they have six months or less to live.

Hanna Olivas, a Las Vegas woman living with multiple myeloma, will testify at today's hearing.

"It's very simple to me," she said. "I'm the one that is going through the illness - not a lawmaker, not anybody else. This is my personal journey. If and when that time comes, I need that option to be there."

Opponents of medical aid-in-dying often cite religious or moral objections, but supporters see it as a matter of compassion and mercy - giving people who are in a lot of pain the ability to end their suffering and die peacefully. Aid-in-dying currently is legal in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state.

Sam DeWitt, southwestern regional campaign and outreach manager for the advocacy group Compassion and Choices Action Network, said there has never been a reported case of abuse.

"You have to be of sound mind. You have to be able to self-ingest the medication," he said. "We've also improved the safeguards in the bill, so that it can't be abused by someone who wanted to take advantage of a relative who has a disability."

Similar medical aid-in-dying bills passed out of committee in the Nevada Legislature in 2017 and 2019, but never got a full hearing.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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