Medical assistance in dying law still sought in Minnesota / Public News Service

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Minnesota lawmakers have a lot to do in a shorter legislative session this year, but supporters of a end of life option invoice hope he gets another look.

The current proposal would allow mentally competent adults with less than six months to live to request, obtain and take medication to die peacefully in their sleep.

Carrie Framsted, a lawyer with the Grand Marais nonprofit Compassion & Choices, said she became the bill’s lawyer after his wife Monica died two years ago. She explained that it became clear that the cancer treatments were too much for Monica to handle.

“She had two wishes, pain management and quality of life, and she had none,” Framsted said.

The House bill has added sponsors in recent weeks, but it’s unclear whether it will get a hearing. There is also an accompanying measure in the Senate. One of the concerns raised by opponents in the past is the possibility of taking advantage of vulnerable people. Proponents countered that there are numerous safeguards and requirements in place, including access to service through approved providers.

Framsted noted that proponents are still working on stigma issues, such as people still referring to the “assisted suicide” option.

“It’s a decision you make with your family, your doctor, with your friends and loved ones, and they’re all with you together,” Framsted stressed.

Other provisions in the bill would allow terminally ill people to withdraw their application if they change their mind at any time, and anyone who tries to coerce a patient would face criminal prosecution. Healthcare providers who participate and comply enjoy civil and criminal immunity.

Similar laws are in place in nearly a dozen other states.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on civic engagement, health issues, seniors’ issues, and social justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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