For the third year in a row, Democratic State Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck is sponsoring a bill focused on medical aid in dying for people with terminal illnesses.
The 2017 bill is called the End of Life Options Act, and it would give individuals the right to ask physicians for self-administered drugs to hasten their own death if they’ve been given six months to live because of a terminal illness.
Chavez-Houck says she decided to run such a bill again because of a poll conducted a little over a year ago that showed 58 percent of Utahns support a medical aid in dying law as well as testimony she’s received from individuals.
"As I have been shepherding this legislation forward, people have been coming to me in droves with their own stories of very challenging end of life situations with loved ones. And then I was being approached by terminally ill patients who they themselves would like to have this prerogative," says Chavez-Houck.
This same proposal was unanimously voted down by the legislature last year.
Similar bills have passed in seven other states including Washington D.C. this past November and Colorado earlier this month. But based on past votes in Utah, Chavez-Houck is aware it’ll be a tough sell.
"The way I look at it is, we want to continue to be able to allow the patients that want to have this legislation passed, continue to tell their story to legislators. It’s just keeping the dialogue going forward," she said.
Chavez-Houck’s proposal will appear during the January legislative session.