The 2017 End of Life Options Act
ST. PAUL, MN – Senator Chris Eaton (DFL-Brooklyn Center) and Representative Mike Freiburg (DFL-Golden Valley) along with several area citizens introduced the End of Life Options Act on March 1. The legislation permits terminally-ill adult Minnesotans, with the capacity to make medical decisions, to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if certain conditions are met.
“While palliative care and hospice programs provide great comfort to patients and work wonders for many dying people and their loved ones, there are times when even the best palliative options cannot alleviate pain and suffering,” Sen. Eaton said. “This legislation offers the dying person a choice to decide whether their pain and suffering is too great to withstand the pain.”
There are stringent guidelines to be eligible to request a prescription for the aid in dying medication. The individual must:
· Be an adult
· Be a Minnesota resident
· Have a diagnosis from his/her primary physician of incurable and irreversible disease which will, within reasonable medical judgement, result in death within six months.
· Be able to make medical decisions for themselves as determined by health professionals
· Voluntarily request a prescription for an aid in dying drug without influence from others
· Be able to self-administer (eat, drink, and swallow) the aid in dying drug.
The request must be made directly by the patient to the attending physician, and cannot be made on behalf of the patient through a power of attorney, an advanced health care directive, conservator, health care agent, surrogate, or any other legally recognized health care decision maker.
“This entire act is about choice and individual rights,” Rep. Freiberg said. “Under this act, terminally ill adults with no hope of a cure have the option to voluntarily request a prescription for medication from their doctor that they can decide to use to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable. This legislation puts the decision-making power where it belongs: with the dying person.”
Medical aid in dying has been safely practiced for more than 30 years across six states in America, including Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California and Colorado. “In these states, the law works as intended,” Sen. Eaton said. “Medical aid in dying is a safe and effective medical practice.”