State Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) commented Monday he is relieved that proposed changes to the state's Death with Dignity bill did not even come to a vote during the session.

HB 1141, and its Senate companion, would have made significant changes to the state's existing Death with Dignity laws. A number of years ago, WA voters approved legislation allowing people with certain medical conditions to end their own life. Most commonly, persons with terminal illnesses whose quality of life was very poor or suffering from unbearable pain.

This legislation was tightly regulated, Doctors were closely involved and monitored.

HB 1141 would have allowed Nurse Practitioners or Physicians Assistants to help people end their own lives; neither are officially licensed 'doctors.' Padden also said it would allow the transfer of sending of lethal drugs to be shipped via mail or courier; and would have cut the waiting period when requesting euthanasia from 15 days to just 72 hours.

Padden believes the law is working as is, and the new proposed changes would compromise the balance between quality of life and a person's right to choose euthanasia.

The transfer of the lethal medications used to perform euthanasia were of particular concern to Padden, besides the other issues.

He said a number of citizens fought against HB 1141, as did the WA State Catholic Conference, Family Policy Institute of WA, and the Washington Medical Association; just to name a few.

They raised so much opposition, the bill did not even make it to the Senate floor for a vote.

 

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