(VitalNews.org) – After five previous attempts, the state of Nevada moved toward allowing medically assisted suicide with Senate Bill (SB) 239 passing by one vote 11-10. All Republicans in the Nevada chamber voted against the bill, and two Democrats joined them.
Joe Lombardo, Nevada’s Republican Governor, hasn’t made his stance known. If Lombardo does sign the bill into law, it will make the state of Nevada the ninth in the United States to offer terminally ill patients access to assisted suicide.
The bill specifies that adult individuals 18 years or older with 6 months or less to live would have the option available to them. Within the bill are details outlining for doctors, pharmacists, insurance companies, and other entities that may be involved in the resulting distribution of the medications necessary to euthanize a patient and how they will be shielded from liability for that patient’s choice.
In addition, SB 239 covers the ways a patient can qualify for medically assisted suicide by following protocols for determining that the patient wasn’t coerced, is mentally capable of making the decision, and fully understands the decision they are making.
Religious organizations and faith groups oppose SB 239 and similar laws passed in other states. They argue that the law might be used to coerce patients into choosing to die and could violate the oath doctors make to safeguard the lives of their patients. Some opponents argue that it isn’t possible for doctors to predict the remaining length of a patient’s life accurately.
At this time, it is Democratic strongholds such as Washington DC, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington that have laws allowing assisted suicide. California and Montanna allow for medically assisted suicide when a court order is issued.
But Nevada stands apart as a swing state that finds itself among states allowing assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Nevada State Bill 239 will advance from the state Senate onto the state assembly to be voted on.
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