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New Poll Shows 72 Percent of Nevadans Support Death with Dignity

May 9, 2017

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.

Nevada State Senator David Parks, sponsor of SB 261

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.


David Simony
May 16, 2017 at 9:34 am

When is the rest of the country going to get on board with should be federal not just 2 States.its pretty sad you still can’t decide for yourself how to go..and it’s not suicide wanting to spare not only yourself but your Loved one the pain of watching you fade to nothing before you pass and having that memory of that instead of the great times you enjoyed together. Someday this will change..

Cindy Merrill, Co-founder of Texas Death with Dignity
May 18, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Thank you DWDNC for all the work you do around the nation to help state advocacies in their pursuit of medical aid in dying laws. The information and help you provide us is invaluable!

cathy henderson
May 27, 2017 at 10:30 am

this should be allowed throughout all the states

July 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm

I think it would be about time to explore other reasons for a dignified death. This will upset quite a few people but how are the many ugly acts of suicide being ignored. If a person is hell bent on ending their life for one reason or another why not give them a dignified death. Why not give their loved ones a way to say good bye and not have to see some of the nightmarish lengths that a person will go through to end their misery. I have thought about it many times due to the fact that I will never have a week without pain in my life. I am alone with no spouse or children and have run out of reasons to want to wake up tomorrow, but I don’t feel that my family should have to “clean up a mess” as I have had to help and witness before, leaving my loved ones with nightmares of what they have seen. Life is precious but what about when the preciousness of life is gone?

June 15, 2018 at 10:25 am

Watching a loved one’s quality of life dwindle further and further into a bedridden state is so horrible! Once was an individual who throughout their life was fully self sufficient is now completely helpless. Even if there is no physical pain, just the slow degradation of the body and the mind. My grandfather sufferred a stroke 6 years ago, he walked out of the hospital and was driving his car for months afterwards..and then his right side (arm and leg) began to just not respond, and after a year a walker was needed for him to get around. Pretty soon after he didn’t get out of his chair but to go to the bedroom and to get to the bathroom my grandmother had to help. He expressed his wishes and there’s nothing we can do. Today he doesn’t get out of bed at all. He is just dying – slowly. My grandfather did not want to have diapers changed and to be hand fed. He told me years ago he wished he could die, because this life he was enduring was torture. People in the USA need to wake up out of their protective bubble to feel the heartache of watching a loved one suffer becoming trapped in their body without the ability to move their limbs and loosing their ability to speak. How is that Dignified ? How is that Justified. How did the United States Government ever get control of a human’s right to die instead of gradually decaying into death?

January 6, 2019 at 3:39 am

Im 38 i was diagnosed with lupus when i was 25 but they said i could have had it all my life i cried excepted then rheumatoid arthritis a few year later then in 2016 my heart stopped 3 times was on life support for few weekz then in a medica induced coma my immune system was attacking my body left and right so of course medication by the bundles then. I was told i have rheumatoid arthritis to top that off i have another auto immune disease called hendrentitis suppurativa which is in curable im always in excruciating pain that no one seemed to have a cure for it either and I’m tired of taking the medication for it and I’m tired of talking to people about it and that’s like I’m just tired of it all the medications that the hospital visits to people that and don’t know what to do about it I lived a pretty good life and I just don’t want to live the rest of it like this in this predicament can’t do anything can’t go anywhere because of such pain and people think of how I walk and how I talk and limping and then looking at my face in that I’m only 38 but it’s swole up like a beach ball and that’s not how I used to look so I’m choosing to die with dignity on my own terms do you have any advice for. Me my name is shondra carter

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Afterword: Physician-Assisted Dying Concepts

Lawsuit by “Assisted Suicide Advocates” One of Many Factors in California Law

The philosophical debate over medical aid in dying has a lot more resonance after one’s own diagnosis with a serious illness. That’s what Dan Swangard, a physician, discovered after learning he had a rare form of cancer. In an article in The Atlantic, Dr. Swangard described how he moved from doctor to patient to “assisted suicide advocate” in California, joining a lawsuit in 2015 to protect physicians who practice physician-assisted death. The 2016 lawsuit followed the passage of the End of Life Option Act by the California legislature.