New Hampshire Health Judiciary Committee Considers Death with Dignity Act
Supporters Express Confidence Lawmakers Will Pass Compassionate Bill
February 12, 2020
Supporters of the Death with Dignity Act are hopeful House Judiciary Committee members will consider approving a bill that would allow terminally-ill adults the option to request and receive a prescription from their doctor that allows them to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable.
The Death with Dignity Act was introduced on Jan. 8 by Rep. Catt Sandler (D-Strafford 21) and co-sponsors Representatives Christy Bartlett, Gerri Cannon, Jerry A. Frost, George Saunderson, Matthew Towne, Kenneth Vincent, Gary Woods, Senator Martha Hennessey. The compassionate bill would be a huge step toward ending needless suffering at the end of life and giving terminally ill New Hampshire residents and their loved ones the peace of mind they want and deserve.
Dozens of supporters gathered at the state capitol holding photos of loved ones who suffered unnecessarily at the end of life.
“Based on the growing support for medical aid-in-dying laws throughout the country, we are hopeful that legislators look into their hearts to pave the way for this compassionate bill,” said Brian Monteiro, campaign manager for Compassion & Choices. “Terminally-ill people in New Hampshire should not be forced to suffer at the end of life. Dying New Hampshirites deserves all possible options at the end of life, including the option of medical aid-in-dying.”
Two-thirds of Americans (67%) support medical aid-in-dying. Majority support included most faith groups, including those who identify as Christians (59%), Catholics (70%), Protestants (53%), those of other religions (70%) and those who identify as non-religious (84%), according to a 2016 LifeWay Research.
Nine states, Oregon (via ballot initiative in 1994 that took effect in 1997), Washington (via ballot initiative in 2008), Montana (via state a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that took effect in 2010), Vermont (via legislation in 2013), California (via legislation in 2015 that took effect in June 2016), and Colorado (via ballot initiative in 2016), Hawaiʻi (via legislation in 2018 that took effect in January 2019), New Jersey (via legislation in March 2019 that took effect on Aug. 1, 2019), and Maine (via legislation on June 12 that took effect on Sept. 15) as well as the District of Columbia (via legislation in 2016 that took effect in 2017), now authorize doctors to offer mentally sound, terminally ill adults the option to request prescription medication they can take to die gently in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable.
Collectively, these 10 jurisdictions represent 22 percent of the nation’s population and have 40 years of experience safely implementing these laws.