Yes on Prop 106

It’s time for voters to do what the Legislature could not: decide whether Colorado’s terminally ill adults can dictate the terms of their death.

Earlier this year, two measures modeled after Oregon’s Death With Dignity law failed to make it to a floor vote in the Colorado Legislature, prompting a citizens’ initiative to get the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act on the ballot.

The topic — rife with moral objections and ethical implications — is probably too politically sensitive for lawmakers, so we’re glad that the people are getting a shot at making this call. The CMU-PBS poll in September showed 70 percent approval for Proposition 106.

We support taking the government out of a deeply personal choice.

The ballot measure says two physicians must agree that a person is terminally ill and has six months or less to live, is at least 18, and is mentally competent. To receive the medication the patient must make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart, and one written request to his or her primary physician.

The act creates criminal penalties for tampering with a person’s request for medical aid-in-dying medication or knowingly coercing a person with a terminal illness to request the medication.

It also requires that the person self-administer the drug. No one who doesn’t agree with the concept has to participate.

On its website, No Assisted Suicide Colorado says “some of the details provided are just wrong-headed, failing to protect patients or their loved ones, while making it too easy for big healthcare companies and greedy heirs to financially exploit assisted suicide.”

We disagree. There’s no evidence of abuse or coercion in Oregon. Furthermore the term “assisted suicide,” we think, is a misnomer intended to muddy the waters. A person who is suicidal wants to die. A person in the process of dying wants to live, but won’t. This measure gives the dying the peace of mind that they won’t suffer needlessly.

Once the medication is requested it’s up to the individual to decide when and if to take it. In Oregon, of the 1,545 people who have requested the medication since 1997, about a third chose not to use it, according to the Blue Book.


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