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Colorado Passes ‘End Of Life Options’ Measure For Terminally Ill Patients

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In Colorado, it is now legal for adults with terminal illnesses to end their own lives with prescription medications. The right-to-die ballot measure was passed by 65% of the state’s voters, making Colorado the sixth state in the USA where the option is available.

The measure allows adults who have six months or less to live the option to get a prescription from their doctors, and administer the medicine themselves, NPR reports. Those who wish to do so must “make two oral requests, separated by at least fifteen days, and a valid written request to his or her attending physician.”

The law also states that people taking these medications must be able to do so without assistance, and requests can be cancelled at any time during the process.

People diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s are not eligible for the prescription, which calls for secobarbital – a drug used in low doses to put people to sleep.

The law also protects physicians and pharmacists from lawsuits should they prescribe or dispense the medicines involved.

According to The Denver Post, two previous attempts to pass similar measures had failed.

The other states with laws to assist the dying are California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. California’s law was the most recent, signed by the governor in 2015 and implemented just this June. Oregon has had its law in place since 1997, making it the oldest.

One of the most emotionally-charged initiatives for the state, it was welcomed by supporters, especially those who have watched their loved ones suffer. The campaign to pass the measure raised $4.8 million, including funding from Compassion & Choices Action Network.

But opponents have promised to keep fighting, arguing that the law targets the elderly and people with disabilities. The Archdiocese of Denver gave $1.1 million to the “No Assisted Suicide Campaign,” stating that all human life is sacred.

Colorado’s Proposition 106, named “End of Life Options,” was modeled after Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law.

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