Physician-Assisted Death Bill Approved By House Panel

February 5, 2016

A Democrat-led state House committee has approved a Colorado right-to-die bill that would provide a legal option for the terminally ill to end their lives.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill on a 6-5 party-line vote late Thursday after hearing 10 hours of testimony. The legislation now goes to the full House for consideration, but faces an uphill battle if it reaches the Republican-controlled Senate. A committee there rejected the bill on a party-line vote on Wednesday.

Opponents argued the bill would facilitate doctor-assisted suicide, especially with wrong terminal diagnoses, and they insisted existing hospice and palliative care for the dying is sufficient. Their arguments helped defeat a similar proposal last year.

The bill requires that a mentally competent patient have a six-month prognosis and get two doctors to sign off after three requests for life-ending medication. It calls for safe storage of lethal drugs and recognizes that a patient can change his or her mind.