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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 bill allowing doctors to help terminally ill patients take their own lives failed to clear a House committee on Tuesday when no one made a motion to advance it.

House Bill 1536, sponsored by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, would allow a physician to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a patient whose illness would result in death "within a relatively short time."

To obtain the drugs, the patient would have to make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart, as well as a written request signed in the presence of two or more witnesses.

If the patient wasn't already in hospice care, the prescribing physician would have to tell the patient about other end-of-life options, including hospice and palliative care.

A second physician would also have to confirm the patient's diagnosis and that the patient was informed, acting voluntarily and able to make and communicate decisions.

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

"I hate to compare humans to animals, but it's a fact of life we're all going to die," Douglas, a farmer and real-estate agent, told the House Committee on Public Health, Welfare and Labor. "If I have livestock that are suffering and cannot be cured, we help them go. We put them down."

That comment drew a rebuke from Ken Yang, director of government affairs for the Little Rock-based Family Council, which he said supported the 1999 law that made physician-assisted suicide a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

"My mom and dad will never be considered livestock, and I'll never treat them as such," Yang said.

Hospice and palliative care providers also opposed the bill. They said patients may choose assisted suicide out of fear, without understanding care providers' ability to help relieve pain and anxiety at the end of a patient's live.

Bruce Campbell, Gov. Asa Hutchinson's director of appointments, spoke in favor of the bill while stressing he was speaking in his personal capacity and not on behalf of the governor.

Campbell said he has cancer and chronic kidney disease and supports giving terminally ill patients a choice in how their lives will end.

"Once you get slapped in the face with some of the stuff that I have, you start to think about it in a more concrete way," he said.

Hutchinson supported Campbell's desire to testify on the bill, but does not believe in physician-assisted suicide and doesn't support HB1536, spokesman J.R. Davis said.

According to Portland, Ore.,-based Death with Dignity, which supports laws allowing physician-assisted suicide, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C., have laws allowing the lethal prescriptions.

Metro on 03/13/2019

Print Headline: Assisted-suicide measure stalls in Arkansas House committee


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  • Foghorn
    March 13, 2019 at 7:37 a.m.

    Spineless aholes.

  • seitan
    March 13, 2019 at 8:47 a.m.

    Arkansas: the suffering state. Cruel.
    New flash to Ken Yang: humans are animals. We do die.

  • BobfromMarion
    March 13, 2019 at 10:20 a.m.

    I have mixed emotions about this bill. On one hand, I would want to have this available if I had terminal cancer that usually puts the patient through extreme pain at the end stage of life.

    Some diseases create severe pain with the patient reaching the point where they can't do anything for themselves. They have become incontinent and have to be fed. Why would anyone want their loved ones to endure several more days like that?

    I can see where some people with terminal cancer might want to end life earlier than what was the intent of this bill. I would not want to make it legal for people who who are not in pain and can still have a quality of life to use this bill to get a legalized suicide when they can still play all nine holes of golf.

    Only seven states have passed similar bills to this. It would be a bit unusual for AR to being a leader in passing progressive laws such as this.

  • GeneralMac
    March 13, 2019 at 10:38 a.m.

    SEITAN says...."humans are animals"

    speak for yourself only

  • btwice
    March 13, 2019 at 10:57 a.m.

    BobfromMarion, so why the mixed emotions about this bill? It's clear and specific, preventing your example of the golf-playing, pain-free suicide.

    It's always baffled me why this is such a taboo subject when it comes to the terminally ill, although I have heard it's actually more common, the law skirted more than most folks realize. Like physicians allowing certain patients to OD on morphine for example and then calling it accidental. I would hope that's the case, but OD'ing on a drug they already have a tolerance to is not exactly easy. Legal, more certain measures should be instituted.

  • btwice
    March 13, 2019 at 11:11 a.m.

    GeneralMac, so you're saying the rest of us are plants? Bacteria?

  • Illinoisroy
    March 13, 2019 at 12:29 p.m.

    It is only humane to allow someone to have dignity in death. Only those of certain religious (superstitious) dogma would object. Humans are mammals just like cattle only difference between putting done suffering animal and assisted suicide is who is making the decision to ruminate life. GMAC is most definitely an animal! Love ya baby.

  • seitan
    March 13, 2019 at 12:42 p.m.

    GM. Please purchase a biology textbook and read it.

  • GeneralMac
    March 13, 2019 at 12:45 p.m.

    If we are only "animals" the males would be "humping" everything warm in public.

    If we want to be treated like animals allow parents to castrate/neuter their kids w hen young.....tie their kids up on leashes, and allow their kids to deficate on lawns and lick their private parts.

    Common practice at SEITAN's house and BTWICE's house ?

  • MaxCady
    March 13, 2019 at 12:45 p.m.

    Btwice, I'm bacteria!! "Dying is not a crime."---Jack "Dr. Death" Kevorkian.