By Skylar Sigala
Imagine lying in a hospital bed, in agonizing pain, knowing that you will die within the year. The only wish you have is to end the pain that persists day in and day out, to give you and your loved ones peace. That is the picture painted by Sarah Kelly, current member of the House of Representatives.
Kelly penned the bill in inspiration of her father, who was diagnosed with stage five Pancreatic Cancer. She also said the bill was penned while looking at bills that exist today in states such as Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California. Each of the states mentioned having legal physician-assisted suicide via court decisions based on a person being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Kelly’s bill stated that physician-assisted suicide can be available for patients who have been confirmed by two doctors to have a terminal illness and will die within six months. Kelly chose six months on the ground that, at six months the body of a terminally ill patient is already degenerating at a rapid pace. The patient must be eighteen years old and mentally competent
“If anyone is pressuring the patient into requesting the physician-assisted suicide, they will be forced to pay a fine,” Kelly said when asked about forced suicide.
Kelly went on to expand on the process.
“The qualifying patient must file 1 request while in sound mind and a second one fifteen days later,” Kelly said. “From there the physician will put the patient into a medically-induced coma and will give them a medication that will cause them to die peacefully thirty minutes later.”
Kelly wrote the rule of waiting fifteen days between requests in order for the patient to be fully sure about their decision.
Alexa Lacey, proponent speaker, said, “I believe having the choice of your own death is better than letting a disease tell you when to die.”
“This bill is absolutely necessary because it focuses on the absolute necessities of those who are terminally ill but it also takes into account the necessities of the human body…People have the choice whether or not to prolong or end their life,” said Jake Meyer, a fellow representative,
“It’s their right to end their pain.”
While in opposition Shamari Amaro, another representative who penned a similar bill, said, “This bill has good intentions…but has many loopholes and misconceptions.” Amaro spoke of the financial burden for families who cannot afford to pay for the physician-assisted suicide.
She then transitioned in the topic of the mentally ill.
“It is not fair. Are mentally incompetent people not allowed to end their pain also?” Amaro said.
Nicholas Noble, a representative from McKinney High School, contributed to the opposition.
“What the point? Six months is far too late for people who have endured long-term suffering,” Noble said. “I love the intention for the bill, but there [are] too many problems.”
While being debated, the amendment to shorten the time between requests for physician-assisted suicide from fifteen days to one week was made. However, when coming to a vote, the bill was overcome by the opposition and will not receive favorable action to move on.