Connecticut Newspapers Publish Flurry of Opinion Pieces Endorsing Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill

April 3, 2021

Connecticut newspapers have published a flurry of opinion pieces endorsing the state’s medical aid-in-dying bill (HB 6425) before and after the Public Health Committee hearing on the bill on Feb. 26 and the committee’s approval of the bipartisan legislation on March 5 for a House floor vote. 

Below are links and excerpts of each one that you can cite when you contact Connecticut lawmakers to urge them to pass the bill ASAP by clicking here.

CT News Junkie oped by Jennifer Barahona, “Opinion: Aid in Dying is an Uncomfortable, But Pressing Issue for Terminally Ill,” April 2, 2021

“In just seven months, ALS had robbed [my mother] of control of every voluntary 

movement, including the ability to blink yes-or-no responses, yet her mind was 

perfectly intact. To this day, I am haunted by her pleading eyes, her groans, her black limbs from lack of circulation, and the inability of any person, medical or otherwise, to know what was causing her pain and distress … year after year of debate on this compassionate legislation only results in more Connecticut residents dying with needless suffering (Orange resident Mike Mizzone, Stamford resident Minnie Wilkov, Westport resident David MurrayWeston resident Pam Parsons) and their loved ones testifying about helplessly watching it. None of us are ‘comfortable’ discussing this issue, but we feel a duty to do everything in our power to ensure other terminally ill Nutmeggers don’t suffer needlessly at life’s inevitable end.”

[Waterbury] Republican American oped by Kristen Jean Keska: “No one should die such a painful death,” March 16, 2021

“For the last 12 hours of [my mother’s] life, we watched over her as she entered the ‘death rattle’ stage. Her breathing slowed down, she barely moved, and she never reopened her eyes. Her breathing changed to gasping for air. Then, we witnessed her eyes shoot open and fully extend. She tried to sit up. Then, fluid and foam started to come out of her mouth. She was drowning from the inside out. This turbulent passage from this world to the next took almost five minutes … This issue has been debated for 27 years…in Connecticut … I hope her wishes for the ability to have a peaceful passing will be available to Connecticut residents facing terminal illness in the future.”

CT Mirror Viewpoints by Jeff Gardere, PH.D.: “Psychologist: Why suicide and medical aid in dying are truly different,” March 15, 2021

“As a board-certified clinical psychologist for the last four decades who has counseled both patients who were dying and those who wanted to end their life prematurely via suicide, I can tell you unequivocally that there is no comparison between the two. But don’t just take my word for it … The Journal of Palliative Medicine has published peer-reviewed, clinical criteria for physician aid in dying, not physician-assisted suicide … a Purple Insights poll in Connecticut showed 66 percent of state voters overall and 65 percent of voters with disabilities support medical aid in dying. This strong support among people with disabilities is not surprising to me because my patients with disabilities want the same autonomy to make their own end-of-life care decisions as my other patient…”

Stage 4 metastatic cancer patient Kim Hoffman of Glastonbury, CT with her wife Joy Cipollo

The [New London] Day Guest Opinion by Kim Hoffman: ‘I want the option of medical aid in dying,’ March 14, 2021

“I’m a stage four ovarian cancer survivor of nearly eight years. I’ve known for years that I will never go into remission again. My disease has spread to one of my breasts, my liver, lungs, and skin. There is no doubt that I’ve nearly run out of options and time … One person at the hearing promised she could “guarantee” that hospice could make me comfortable and give me “dignity” at the end of my life. My response? ‘Being doped out on narcotics is not comfortable for me in any way, shape, or form … And so I want to be able to choose what’s comfortable for me.’ … I’m grateful that the Public Health Committee approved this bill…Out of care and respect, I implore the House and Senate to pass it before it’s too late for me.”

The Newtown Bee, “Editorials: Life Or Death Legislation,” March 4, 2021

“For those who are subjected to relentless pain of a terminal illness…who undergo endless medical procedures never leading back to a semblance of a normal life; whose quality of life cannot be reconciled with what it once was; whose mental clarity is sufficient to determine that suffering is futile, a law that protects doctors and patients responding kindly to death’s call is needed … this legislation cannot come too soon … having that legal option can bring a measure of peace … A decision to move away from this earthly place is a decision not to be hindered by heartless laws, but by decisions of the heart.”

Hearst Connecticut Media Editorial Board, “State should approve aid-in-dying proposal,” Feb. 28, 2021

“Nine states today allow some form of medical aid in dying … It’s important to note how many safeguards are involved in the proposed legislation … To people who have faced gut-wrenching moments with loved ones in severe pain and no hope of recovery, the lack of options can be heartbreaking. To give people an option for an alternative, that lets them assert at least some control in a situation where everything else has failed, is one small comfort we can offer … It’s not unprecedented, as the actions of other states have shown. It’s not a slippery slope … The Legislature should move ahead on the proposed aid-in-dying bill.”

Hartford Courant Opinion by Dr. Deborah Pasik: For many, medical aid-in-dying brings “a swifter, kinder and gentler death,” Feb. 26, 2021

“I have evaluated 43 patients [in New Jersey] for medical aid in dying … What I found remarkable about all of these terminally ill people, with no exceptions, was that they were all extremely clear in their requests; their decisions were made after weeks of discussion and introspection. There was absolutely no evidence of coercion, and all had clear-cut terminal illnesses confirmed by their treating physician … Terminally ill Connecticut residents should not be forced to move to other states, like nearby New Jersey, Maine or Vermont, that have authorized this compassionate end-of-life care option. Your zip code shouldn’t determine if you have to suffer needlessly at life’s end.”

CT Mirror Viewpoints by Dr. Gary Blick: “COVID-19 increases urgency for legislature to pass medical aid-in-dying law,” Feb. 26, 2021

“Medical aid-in-dying laws improve end-of-life care overall, even for the relatively few people who use this end-of-life care option (less than 1% of annual deaths in Oregon and other authorized states), because they require physicians to advise any patient who requests medical aid in dying about every other end-of-life care option, including hospice and palliative care … Like the Oregon law, the Connecticut bill has over a dozen safeguards to prevent misuse. Even the evilest, greediest relatives wouldn’t risk a murder conviction (a unique Connecticut bill provision) to coerce a mentally capable adult, with a prognosis of six months or less to live, to die a little sooner.”

Connecticut Post Opinion by Michael Tucker: “Actor explains how medical aid in dying bill can provide comfort,” Feb. 19, 2021

“I got a lesson in dying from a dear friend of mine last year, the legendary actor René Auberjonois. He got a diagnosis of stage-four lung cancer and he was given a year to live, more or less … And because he lived in California, where unlike in Connecticut, medical aid in dying is an option for terminally ill adults to die peacefully, he created for himself and his family a beautiful death. In his last weeks he combed through nearly 60 years of photographs and put together a slide show for the family. They gathered at his bedside and watched the history of their life together, with the Beatles’ music blasting merrily away. It took hours to see it all. They laughed, they danced, they hugged, they cried. It was like life. And then, with everyone gathered, he took his aid-in-dying medication and peacefully died a very loving death.”

Once again, we encourage supporters of HB 6425 to contact Connecticut lawmakers to urge them to pass the bill ASAP by clicking here.

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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.