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story.lead_photo.caption Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, is shown beside a screenshot of his bill to allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with lethal doses of medicine so the patients could end their lives.

A Northwest Arkansas lawmaker filed a bill Wednesday that would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with lethal doses of medicine so the patients could end their lives.

The bill, which would create an exception for medication to the state's existing ban on physician-assisted suicide, will likely be opposed by religious groups. The American Medical Association also opposes legalizing physician-assisted suicide, calling the practice "fundamentally incompatible with a physician's role as healer."

California, Oregon, Vermont and Washington have passed laws allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A court ruling in Montana provided immunity for the practice in that state.

The sponsor of the proposed "Compassionate Care End-of-Life Option Act," Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

[RELATED: Complete Democrat-Gazette coverage of the Arkansas Legislature]

Jerry Cox, president of the faith-based Family Council, vowed to oppose the bill.

"A physician friend of mine described this bill as worse than terrible," Cox said. "You're literally talking about killing people."

Under the text of Douglas' bill, a patient would have to ask a doctor twice, at least two weeks apart, to write a prescription for life-ending drugs before the doctor can fulfill the request. The doctor also would have to file a report with the Department of Health upon writing such a prescription.

House Bill 1536 was assigned to the House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor.

-- John Moritz

Print Headline: Doctor-aided death is focus of Arkansas lawmaker's bill


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Archived Comments

  • 23cal
    February 21, 2019 at 7:20 a.m.

    Doubt it will pass.
    Hope it does.
    Getting pretty sick of the party of small government legislating against body autonomy.

  • Foghorn
    February 21, 2019 at 8:17 a.m.

    This bill should absolutely pass. It would be the most compassionate thing to do. I’m sure, however, the majority of morons in the ledge won’t have the baIIs to stand up to naysayers.

  • JA40
    February 21, 2019 at 8:36 a.m.

    This is a great bill. However, our legislature is controlled by 'christian, Bible toters', so , since it makes sense, I doubt it'll be passed.

  • GOHOGS19
    February 21, 2019 at 9:03 a.m.

    I'm sure the "right to choose" folks will be all over this one.

  • 3WorldState1
    February 21, 2019 at 9:14 a.m.

    Until u know someone with a terminal illness and watch them waste away and suffer, u can shut up. How about this Cox, after ur old dog has a stroke or cancer just let it sit in the floor and die. Or take it to the vet and have them put it on machines for three months. You would do neither. We have more compassion for our animals than we do our family members. Because the Bible tells us so? That’s ridiculous.

    February 21, 2019 at 9:40 a.m.

    My grandfather self-prescribed a .357. A prescription would have been infinitely more painless, clean, peaceful, and humane.

  • Vickie55
    February 21, 2019 at 9:45 a.m.

    I have never understood why we treat our pets more humanely at the end of their lives than we do people

  • Knuckleball1
    February 21, 2019 at 9:46 a.m.

    I have known more than one person who has taken their own life because of a terminal illness with a gun. This bill would stop that.

  • GeneralMac
    February 21, 2019 at 10:45 a.m.

    Train our doctors to kill them at the beginning ( abortion) and kill them at the end

    Isn't being "progressive" wonderfull ?

  • Seitan
    February 21, 2019 at 11:16 a.m.

    After watching doctors turn my mom into a morphine addict for the last years of her life, and hearing her beg to die because it wasn't working, this strikes me as a humane law.