Utah State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck (D-Salt Lake City) introduced HB 210, Utah End of Life Options Act, on January 22, 2018.
Meanwhile, a bill that would make aiding another person in committing suicide illegal (manslaughter) has passed in both chambers and is awaiting the Utah Governor’s signature.
A December 2015 UtahPolicy.com poll found that 58% of Utahns support physician-assisted dying legislation. While Republicans are divided on the issue with 41 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed, Democrats and independents overwhelmingly prefer the idea with 90 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents supporting.
The poll found that the only religious group opposed to Death with Dignity were members of the LDS Church who self-identified as “very active”; “somewhat active” Mormons favored the idea of a right-to-die law 79-16 percent and “not active” ones idea 87-11 percent. Seventy-six percent of Catholics, 80 percent of Protestants, and 94 percent of non-religious people favored the idea.
Rep. Chavez-Houck introduced bills similar to the 2018 bill three times in the past.
Most recently, she introduced HB 76, End of Life Options Act, on January 5, 2017. On February 9, the bill was tabled in the House Health and Human Services Committee on a 9 to 3 vote.
In 2016, HB 264, End of Life Options Act, House Health and Human Services Committee heard the bill in February and referred it for further study. The Health and Human Services Interim Committee then heard the proposal in June. No further action was taken.
In 2015, the Utah House Health and Human Services Committee voted to send Rep. Chavez-Houck’s bill, HB 391, Utah Death with Dignity Act, for further study during an interim session. The 2015 session was the first time a Death with Dignity bill was considered in the Utah legislature.