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Nevada Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Receives Senate Hearing

Medical aid-in-dying legislation, SB 261, was heard today by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. Sen. David Parks (D-Las Vegas) introduced the bill.

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.

“I have recently been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Even though my prognosis looks good, it has forced me to think about the future and about others who are aren’t as fortunate and are facing an incurable terminal illness,” said Laura Packard, an Enterprise, Nevada resident and advocate for Compassion & Choices, who testified at the hearing.  “I know that if my cancer should progress and if all courses of treatments have been tried and I am in agonizing pain, I should have the right to let go, as should anyone else if they so choose. That’s why I support this bill. It’s very personal now.”

“As every day passes, it becomes more and more critical for Nevada residents facing terminal illness to have the option of medical aid in dying,” said Ashley Cardenas, Policy & Programs Director for Compassion & Choices and former Las Vegas local.  “With 30 years of combined experience in this public policy, it is clear that the vague generalities and arguments put forward by opponents today are completely unfounded and the will of the people of Nevada must prevail.”

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.