A poll released by the Death with Dignity National Center today shows that nearly 3 of 4 Nevada voters support proposed legislation expanding the right of terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to legally obtain prescription medication to end their lives.
Bill Provides an Option
Introduced by Senator David Parks (D-Las Vegas), with 8 co-sponsors, the bill that will be heard on May 10th would allow competent adult Nevadans who have had two doctors confirm a terminal diagnosis to fill a prescription medication to end their lives in a peaceful and dignified manner at the time and place of their choosing.
“I’m looking forward to advancing this important piece of legislation,” Senator Parks said. “This bill only provides an option for those suffering from a terminal illness. It is time to end the idea that there is nobility in pain.”
The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows 72 percent of Nevada residents are in favor of the proposal (support rose to 75 percent after respondents heard additional information about the bill). The findings were released prior to the upcoming May 10th hearing of the Nevada State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on SB 261, an assisted dying bill.
“These results come as no surprise,” said Peg Sandeen, Executive Director of Death with Dignity National Center, the advocacy organization that commissioned the survey. “National polls also show overwhelming—and growing—support for letting people make their own decisions about how to live their last days.”
Broad Support for Death with Dignity in Nevada
Support for the bill is bipartisan, diverse, and broad-based, with majorities of women (69 percent), men (76 percent), Democrats (80 percent), Republicans (66 percent), Independents (67 percent), Catholics (66 percent), Protestants (65 percent), and voters of all ages and education levels all in favor of expanding the rights of the terminally ill.
A similar law has been in place in Oregon since 1997. In nearly 20 years, no problems have arisen, and Oregon was recently named as the best place in America for end-of-life care, with most Oregonians dying peacefully at home or in hospice, rather than in a hospital. The law has been used sparingly—only 1,127 times, representing fewer than 4 in 1,000 deaths in the state, with fully a third of those who successfully obtain a prescription opting not to use it. Most people using the law are dying from cancer or ALS.
“The Oregon law has been implemented carefully and worked exactly as intended for nearly 20 years,” Sandeen said. “The time is right for Nevada to adopt this law.”
This bill only provides an option for those suffering from a terminal illness. It is time to end the idea that there is nobility in pain.
PPP surveyed 602 Nevada voters by automated telephone interviews from April 28 to April 30, 2017. The margin of error for the survey is +/-4.00 %.
Featured photo by Danny Miller.