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Letter: Medical aid in dying

Just in case you haven’t voted yet, I want to provide you with a final reminder about Proposition 106. Registered voters in Colorado will decide whether physicians will be allowed to provide “medical aid in dying.” I feel quite strongly about having end-of-life options, and Proposition 106 describes a narrow set of circumstances that would give terminally ill, mentally capable adults the choice to access medication that would shorten the dying process if suffering becomes unbearable.

We’re fighting to give terminally ill Coloradans the freedom to make their own decisions about their end-of-life care based on their health, their family’s input and their personal religious beliefs. Terminally ill Coloradans deserve the freedom to make personal end-of-life decisions. It’s that simple. There should be aid in dying for those who want it.

In Oregon, the record clearly demonstrates that medical aid in dying works, and that the abuses and slippery slope that opponents of the Death With Dignity Act proposed did not occur. Oregonians have used the law sparingly and with full adherence to both the letter and the spirit with which the law was designed.

Doctors, nurses and other health care providers understand the importance of authorizing medical aid in dying for the terminally ill. We’re proud to have the endorsement of the Pueblo, Denver and Boulder medical societies, and we were pleased when the Colorado Medical Society dropped its opposition to Proposition 106. The nation’s largest public health association, the American Public Health Association, also supports aid in dying, recognizing that “the term ‘suicide’ or ‘assisted suicide’ is inappropriate when discussing the choice of a mentally competent terminally ill patient to seek medications that he or she could consume to bring about a peaceful and dignified death.”

If you (or anyone you know) want to: 1) help knock on doors; 2) make phone calls; or 3) donate to the Yes! Colorado End of Life Options Act campaign, please go to the Proposition 106 website at http://www.coendoflifeoptions.org or contact me at randi.lowenthal@gmail.com or 970.989.8987 as soon as possible. We are running out of time to make Colorado the sixth state to authorize medical aid in dying.

Randi Lowenthal
Carbondale


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