Proposition 106: Giving People the Freedom to Choose

Proposition 106 on the Colorado ballot would give terminally-ill patients the ability to self-administer medicine that would quickly end their life. Under the proposition, patients with less than six months to live would have the capability to take, in a lethal dosage, secobarbital – which is generally administered as a sleeping aid.

Rivals to the proposed law worry it provides too few safeguards from patients making irreversible and undesired choices. Critics claim patients “are susceptible to depression and its dark influences on decision-making.” However, the law would require patients to visit two independent doctors to confirm the terminal diagnosis, assess the patient’s soundness of mind, and receive written and verbal request for the drug.

These requirements still do not curb the reservations of critics, as they have vocalized a concern that patients would be “susceptible to self-imposed guilt over burdening family and worries about spending hard-earned savings on care.” Reiterating their point by claiming patients would be inclined to take the cheaper route, suicide, than to pay for the expensive medical treatment.

However, I contend this is not a reasonable argument to make against the proposition. As rational individuals, we have a right to bodily autonomy as long as it doesn’t harm another person. Therefore since, in this particular instance, a patient’s rationale is being assessed by two individual doctors, they should be able to choose when they die. And if that patient decides they want to die because the alternative options put too steep of a financial burden on their family that is their choice. Whether you agree with that decision or not is irrelevant. If someone is of sound mind, they should be able to decide what happens to their body for whatever reason they see fit.

Anti-Right-To-Die-er’s also emphasize their concern when it comes to a doctor’s responsibility to act as the counselor for patients on death and suicide and the prescriber of the drug. The Denver Post’s Editorial Board, who have said no to the proposition, stated “we don’t have unfettered faith in all doctors’ ability to handle that responsibility.” They do not develop this point further, so I struggle to fully understand what their contention is.

If however, their main concern is the ability of doctors to act as a non-biased entity and to not force one procedure or another onto patients, I believe this argument, in this particular situation, to be void. For while in some instances in diseases such a cancer, where the treatment options are diverse, confusing, complex, and intricate, a doctor will go over numerous treatments and list the dangers and potential for successes, the same is not necessary for this treatment option.

When it comes to terminally-ill patients choosing whether or not to take a ‘suicide’ pill, I contend that the options are very few in number, and the implications of each choice are rather straightforward. Furthermore, like any other disease I, as a patient, have the right to choose what treatment I take and do not take. If I have the right to not take Chemotherapy, which could mean death, I should also have the right to choose take treatments that have the same end result.

Humans inherently believe “human life is sacred at every stage and should be protected.” We may not agree with someone’s choice to end their life, but we must all agree on a person’s right to choose that option.

'Proposition 106: Giving People the Freedom to Choose' have 3 comments

  1. November 7, 2016 @ 11:57 pm will

    ” If someone is of sound mind, they should be able to decide what happens to their body for whatever reason they see fit.”

    That’s just it! This bill does not require an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist. It only suggests that the doctors can do it if they feel it’s warranted. Under Oregon’s law, which Prop 106 was modeled after, less than 5% were refered for a mental health evaluation . . . despite the fact that studies have shown between 25 and 75% of patients who receive a terminal diagnosis suffer severe depression.


  2. November 8, 2016 @ 12:00 am will

    You say: “We may not agree with someone’s choice to end their life, but we must all agree on a person’s right to choose that option.”

    No, we MUST not! Millions of people are disabled, ill and on mind numbing drugs, depressed, mentally ill, etc. They have a right to medical care NOT to be assisted to murder themselves. They should be saved just like any teenager who attempts suicide.


  3. November 8, 2016 @ 10:18 am Bradley Williams

    False advertising disqualifies Prop 106 as it simply allows non voluntary euthanasia. The Colorado promoters of assisted suicide are guilty of false advertising. Their bills do not deliver as promised. If they are really supporting individual choices and rights they would provide an ordinary witness to the self administration of the lethal dose. Without a witness they are allowing forced euthanasia. I learned after caring for my wife’s last 18 months of declining autonomy. I learned that you can work on 4 hours sleep. I am focused on how this Prop 106 is written, it’s omissions and how it could be administered to my wife.
    Colorado Prop 106 provides no ordinary witness to the “self-administration of poison”.
    Even as the promoters have inundated us with their chant that the lethal dose “must be self-administered” and mentioned it 9 times in their 11 page Prop 106 they do not provide an ordinary witness to the act. That omission effectively eviscerates all of the so called safeguards. The difference between having a witness to “self administration” and no witness is that one honors individual rights and the other is non voluntary euthanasia. A promoter was once asked “why don’t you just legalize euthanasia?” He said “the public is not ready to accept euthanasia.”
    The process seems to be full of requirements on the front end up until the script is written. Then an heir can pick up the script and administer it without oversight. Know that only 2% of the doctors have attended these events in other states.
    Even the front end “requirements” have fatal flaws. A predatory heir may be a witness to the initial request along with a staff member of the facility. Does that sound like good public policy?
    The rest of the family is not required to be contacted. And everyone involved gets instant immunity. The death certificate is falsified by this law which makes it impossible to prosecute a murder when the death certificate states the underlying illness is the cause of death. There really is no transparent reason not to post poison as the cause.
    This bill Final #145 Article 48 provides that a predatory heir can facilitate the signup process, murder the individual and receive immunity all before the rest of the family is notified. This is neither reasonable nor prudent public policy. This is dangerous public policy that puts the entire population (all ages) at risk of exploitation by the medical-industrial-complex, organ traffickers and predatory heirs.
    I encourage people to read the Oregon model bill before taking a, or expounding on their position. We will agree no matter our starting position that this Prop 106 does not deliver.
    This bill is not the one.
    Respectfully submitted,
    Bradley Williams
    MTaas dot org


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