Medical aid in dying is a trusted and time-tested medical practice that is part of the full spectrum of end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care. 10 states and Washington, D.C. have addressed this unfortunate circumstance by authorizing medical aid in dying. The proposed legislation will allow a mentally capable, terminally ill adult with a prognosis of six months or less the option to obtain a prescription medication they may decide to take so they can die peacefully and end their suffering.

Despite claims of opponents to the law, not a single substantiated case of abuse or coercion has been found in the 26 years since the first medical aid-in-dying law went into effect in 1997 in Oregon.

Voters want end of life options for their family members and for themselves. Medical aid in dying is supported by 71% of Illinoisans and more than two-thirds of Illinois doctors.

Under this Bill:

  • Qualified individuals must be able to self-administer (i.e., self-ingest) the medication.
  • Physicians must inform the requesting individual about all of their end-of-life care options, including comfort care, hospice, palliative care, and pain control.
  • No physician, health care provider or pharmacist is required to participate in the law.
  • The individual can withdraw their request for medication or change their mind after receiving the medication and decide not to take it.
  • An individual’s providers may refer the person for a mental health evaluation to ensure the person’s capacity to make an informed decision.
  • The law includes multiple protections to prevent coercion including strict eligibility requirements, two separate physician assessments, and mandatory counseling on all treatment options. The law makes it a felony to coerce someone to request the medication or to forge a request.
  • Life insurance payments cannot be denied to the families of those who use the law.
  • Healthcare providers who participate and comply with all aspects of the law are given civil and criminal immunity.
  • Healthcare providers must submit documentation of medical aid-in-dying deaths to the state health department, so it can compile an annual report for lawmakers and the public.
  • Death certificates list the terminal disease as the cause of death consistent with statutory language to provide accurate data and to prevent inappropriate suicide investigations.

Additional Regulatory Requirements to Guard Against Coercion:

  • Two verbal requests for the medication directly from the patient, with a 5-day waiting period between the first and second request.
  • A written request is also required from the individual requesting medical aid in dying.
  • Prescribing physicians must comply with medical-record documentation requirements.
  • Unused medication must be disposed of according to state and federal law.

Senate Bill Introduced

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Session

103rd

Bill number