Medically assisted suicide has been a growing issue in the medical field across the United States. Now, Senator Lauren Book (D-FL) is attempting to legalize the practice in the state of Florida.
Senator Book has filed the "Death with Dignity" bill to give Florida residents who are suffering from a terminal illness with less than six months to live the right to decide for themselves to choose a medical aid in dying option in accordance with their own beliefs and values.
The bill is not as simple as choosing to end ones own life, but gives the patient autonomy over where and when they wish to end their suffering, which is essential to their liberty and autonomy.
"With this bill, we hope to have Florida join 10 other states and Washington, DC in guaranteeing an individual’s right to make their own health care decisions," said Leader Book. "This law would not increase the number of deaths in Florida – it would simply increase compassionate, patient-centered end-of-life options for patients with a terminal illness when the last days of their life become too unbearable."
Under this legislation, a mentally competent adult with a terminal illness, and less than six months to live, can request a prescription for medication from their physician, which when self-administered will enable them to fall into a deep sleep and die in a peaceful manner.
The bill details many safeguards to prevent coercion and abuse; Physicians, healthcare professionals, and healthcare facilities may choose to participate or not; and the patient can change their mind at any time.
Florida is following suit of other states who have already taken action on the issue this year. House Democrats in Pennsylvania this week have announced they intend to "introduce a bill that would allow individuals with terminal illnesses the ability to have death with dignity."