LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Nevada “Medical Aid in Dying” bill has made its way through the state legislature, and people on either side of the contentious issue have made their opinions known as it goes to the governor’s desk.
Also known as Senate Bill 239, the measure would allow doctors to legally prescribe a pill to terminally ill patients to end their life peacefully. It passed through the state senate 11 to 10 in April, then made it through the assembly with a 23-9 vote Wednesday.
Lynda Brooks-Bracey, who has terminal cancer, spoke with 8 News Now Thursday about her desire for the power to choose how her life ends.
“The medical community has said,” Brooks-Bracey explained. “There’s nothing else they can do for me.”
She said she supports the bill as it moves toward its final hurdle to be signed into law.
“This bill will set a policy,” Sara Manns, Nevada Campaign Manager for Compassion in Choices said. “That Nevadans have been asking for, for a very long time.”
Mann is one of several backing the bill, while others who spoke out during April’s Assembly Health and Human Services Session call it the wrong choice.
“This bill puts health care professionals in the position of decision making,” Susan Proffitt, Vice President of Nevada Republican Club said, speaking during the session. “That is not in our training nor ethics.”
“I do remain concerned about abuses that can or will occur,” Jill Douglas, who also opposes the bill, added.
To get an ‘end-of-life pill,’ SB 239 stipulates a patient must be 18 years old, deemed mentally competent, and diagnosed as “terminal” with six months or less to live by two different doctors.
That person would also need to make two verbal requests for the medication and submit a written request signed by a witness.
Furthermore, SB 239 also ensures the death would not be listed as a suicide, but instead classified as caused by the terminal illness at hand.
It also provides legal protection for any medical professionals involved.
“Having access to it here in Nevada,” Manns said. “Is going to make such a difference.”
Mann told 8 News Now these regulations along with other protections associated with the bill, make it the best chance for anyone suffering.
Meanwhile, Brooks-Bracey said she hopes others will understand why this means so much to her.
“This is a last option,” Brooks-Bracey concluded. “But it’s the best option.”
At this time, Governor Lombardo has not indicated whether he intends to sign SB 239 into law.
For more on SB 239, click here.