Senate Health and Human Services Committee Advances Nevada Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill

May 15, 2017

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced medical aid-in-dying legislation (SB 261) in a Work Session today by a vote of 3 to 2.  The bill, introduced by Sen. David Parks (D-Las Vegas) and co-sponsored by Sen. Ben Kieckhefer (R-Reno), will now proceed to the Senate floor. It received a work session after a hearing by the Committee last week.  

Medical aid in dying is an end-of-life medical practice in which a terminally ill, mentally capable individual who has a prognosis of six months or less to live requests, obtains and—if his or her suffering becomes unbearable—self-administers medication that brings about a peaceful death.

Ashley Cardenas, Policy & Programs Director for Compassion & Choices and Las Vegas native, stated: “Courageous people living with terminal illnesses attended last week’s hearing and told their personal stories, urging lawmakers to pass the bill so they could have the option of medical aid in dying if and when no other treatment provides relief for their unbearable suffering. Hundreds more have visited their legislators, submitted testimony and made their voices heard in support of medical aid in dying. By advancing SB 261, the Committee members have shown a commitment to improving end-of-life care for all Nevadans.”

Large majorities of Americans believe that a dying person’s decision whether to end their suffering belongs between them and their doctor, based on their own values.


  • Nearly three out of four Nevada voters (72%) support legislation introduced in the state legislature that would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication the could decide to take die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable, according to an April survey by Public Policy Polling.
  • 74 percent of Americans support the right of a terminally ill adult to end their suffering at life’s end, according to a 2014 Harris Poll.
  • 59 percent of Christian Americans, and 70 percent of Americans of other religions, agree that: “When a person is facing a painful terminal disease, it is morally acceptable to ask for a physician’s aid in taking his or her own life,” according to a 2016 LifeWay Research online survey.
  • 57 percent of U.S. doctors support medical aid in dying, backing the rights of patients with an incurable illness to seek a dignified death, according to a 2017 Medscape poll.


If enacted, SB 261 would allow Nevada to join six other states and the District of Columbia in authorizing medical aid-in-dying legislation. Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been authorized for two decades, has been joined by Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, DC.

Compassion & Choices
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