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06/19/2024 11:53 PM
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: March 1, 2023 04:11 PM
From: Representative Carol Hill-Evans and Rep. Tarik Khan, Rep. Melissa L. Shusterman, Rep. Christopher M. Rabb, Rep. Mark Rozzi, Rep. Jose Giral
To: All House members
Subject: Compassionate Aid in Dying
Advancements in modern medicine have been able to extend the lives of our loved ones by leaps and bounds. However, many individuals with terminal illnesses feel that this extension merely prolongs unnecessary suffering when pain management becomes impossible. 
In ten states (including New Jersey in 2019) and D.C., death with dignity laws offer terminally ill adults who meet specific, well-defined criteria the option to end their life peacefully and on their own terms. The vast majority of persons who have used compassionate assisted dignified death in other states are already enrolled in hospice and have exhausted other palliative care options.  
Our legislation would follow these states in legalizing compassionate aid in dying for terminally ill Pennsylvanians. These individuals, facing unbearable and unrelieved suffering in their final days, would be able to request a prescription that would end their life in a dignified, humane manner that respects the individual’s autonomy and self-determination
Modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, our legislation also includes protections to ensure that patients remain the driving force behind end-of-life care discussions and can rescind their decision at any time.
Unlike in Canada, where many feel that medical aid-in-dying measures lack basic protections and may jeopardize the lives of people with disabilities and their families, this bill respects the lives of those with disabilities and contains over a dozen safeguards to prevent abuse
This bill protects patients from coercion and has strict eligibility requirements that are only open to patients who are terminally ill with less than six months to live and prohibits use for patients requesting due to non-terminal mental health or other physical health issues, including but not exclusive to issues around disability, finances, housing, benefits, age, race, or gender. 
We cannot begin to fathom the pain and hardship an individual with terminal illness faces – pain that often lasts until their final day. Pennsylvanians in this position deserve the ability to choose to end their life on their terms in a safe, medically approved way. 
Please join us in supporting this compassionate, commonsense legislation to give terminally ill individuals more control over their end-of-life plans.

Introduced as HB543