Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in Public Health Committee

by Categorized: Uncategorized Date:

A bill that would permit doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live did not clear the legislature\’s public health committee.

The committee\’s deadline to approve bills was 5 p.m. Friday. Even without the committee\’s endorsement, House Bill 6645 could come up again before the General Assembly adjourns for the year on June 5. But both supporters and opponents say that is unlikely to happen.

Instead, the bill\’s backers say they will make another push next year. \”This is an important issue that lawmakers need to carefully consider, and we will work with lawmakers to re-introduce a bill next legislative session,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion and Choices, a national group that advocated for the bill. “Family members, clergy, doctors and nurses came to Hartford last month to show their support for this proposal, and we are confident that it will eventually become law in Connecticut.”

Betsy Ritter, D-Waterford and a leading advocate of the bill in the House, said in a statement that the bill had gained \”widespread support\” from both lawmakers and the general public.

“I want to thank the Committee\’s leadership and members for taking up this complex and important issue, and we will continue to work towards its passage next year,\’\’ Ritter said.

More than 100 people turned out for a public hearing on the measure last month. Survivors shared harrowing stories of loved ones seeking the right to end their suffering. But the hearing also drew the elderly and people with disabilities, who expressed their fears that physician-assisted suicide would hurt vulnerable patients, and hospice workers, who said the end of life need not be filled with pain.

On Friday, minutes after the 5 p.m. deadline elapsed, one of the bill\’s most outspoken critics applauded the committee for listening. \”They were open to being educated on this,\’\’ said Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut.

The committee\’s decision not to move the bill forward means Connecticut this year is unlikely to join Washington and Oregon as states that permit doctors to prescribe medication enabling patients with terminal illness to commit suicide.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told reporters last month he was wrestling with the issue and had yet to reach a conclusion about whether he would sign such a proposal. \”

“It’s an issue that’s fraught with fears, represents taboos both religious and societal,” Malloy said in late March. “It also raises very substantial questions the ability of one to control their own destiny.”

Wolfgang is Malloy\’s ideological opposite on most issues. But in this case, he praised the governor. \”We\’re grateful to him for pausing and giving this issue some thought,\’\’ he said.



The Courant is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.

13 thoughts on “Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill Dies in Public Health Committee

  1. Richard

    A bill that would permit doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to legislators with less than six months to serve would have immeasurable benefits in CT. Why not give it a try?

    1. Billy the goat

      Not a bad idea. I wonder who will put this state out of its misery when it finally succumbs from California-like liberal fiscal and social policy? We’re almost on life support as it is.

  2. Leslie

    CT should be very proud to join the 25 other states that have already rejected assisted suicide. This bill failed because the legislators of the Committee and the people of Connecticut recognize that Assisted Suicide, by any name, threatens vulnerable populations in CT – evolving a “choice” into a “duty to die” – as it has in the Netherlands. It would change the delicate relationship between doctor and patient, between the sick and their family members, and the vulnerable to our society, and is NOT worth the false promise of comfort to a few – whom we would show true compassion by offering more end-of-life care rather than 90 deadly pills.

    The legislators may have also heeded the clarion voice of Oregon’s Health Department which issued a report in November 2012, that Oregon’s overall suicide rate, after declining for many years, has skyrocketed to 41% above the national average from 2000 to 2010. They adopted “Death with Dignity in the late 90s. Assisted suicide = more suicide. You can’t sugar-coat those statistics. The sad truth is that the top 3 reasons people request assisted suicide in Oregon has to do with dignity and fear issues, not untreated pain, which was somewhere near the bottom. Wouldn’t our Connecticut legislators better serve the public by subsidizing more nursing aids, cutting-edge pain management, palliative care and symptom recognition techniques, than a regime of assisted suicide (or “aid-in-dying” as we’ll be forced by law to call it).

  3. enness

    Rep. Ritter and Barbara Coombs Lee: it’s not going to be any less terrible of an idea next year. This will be like playing whack-a-mole, and it will get creamed, because the facts are just not in your favor.

  4. Anne Hendershott

    CT residents should be grateful to Peter Wolfgang, President of the Family Institute for stopping this latest attempt by lawmakers to bypass the voters to promote their agenda. Legislators presented this as a bill that had wide grassroots support. It never did. Their agenda is one that has been promoted with George Soros money through Compassion and Choices–aka the Hemlock Society. Soros has given over a million dollars to Barbara Coombs Lee’s group and she spent a good portion of that money in CT. CT people are much smarter than the lawmakers realized.

  5. Katherine Upson

    Many thanks to Peter Wolfgang of the Family Institute of CT and others who have worked so hard on this. They keep an eye on the Capitol, and effectively get grassroots support to protect families, the unborn, weak, disabled.
    As to the promoters of this bill, “Compassion and Choices”; it’s strange how the advocates for death love the word “choice”.

  6. A Great Day

    All the bigoted Catholics showed to tell the world how to live again. So glad people are waking up to what a homophobic bigoted cult they are. No place in the modern Democrat Party for such non progressive liberal thought. Lets hope they join Colt and the tea baggers all threatening to leave!! TTYL beautiful day!!!

    1. Johngaltwhereru

      You should run as a Democrat in CT and vocally denounce Catholicism. Run lots of prime time commercials too.

      Most importantly, be sure to emphasize how bigoted the Democratic Party is toward Catholics. Be clear you want Catholics out of the Democrat Party. No voting for Democrats either, of course.

      I mean, Catholics are only 36.6% of the population of CT. Why should they have a voice? Democrats don’t need no stinkin’ Catholics.

      If Democrats could just make sure plenty of illegal immigrants vote, plus get a nice high turnout in the Ghettos, that will more than make up for alienating more than 1/3rd of the State. Plus by increasing the illegal alien and high school drop-out vote, you can more accurately reflect the values and Demographics of the Democrat Party.

      1. Liberalism is a mental disorder

        Dimwit Billy forgot that one of his heroes Joe “verbal diarrhea” Biden is Catholic too.

        1. johngaltwhereru

          Don’t forget Pelosi and DeLauro.

          To demonstrate how accurate your name is, “A Great Day” has concluded that it is bigoted Catholics who tell others how to run their lives.

          Not Progressives who tell you what to eat, what to drink, what health insurance to own, how much money is reasonable for you to make, what you can put in your body, how much of your money you owe to those who did nothing for you.

          Nope. None of those things are telling you how to run your life. But those filthy Catholics and their respect for life; those people need to leave the State.

Comments are closed.