Prop 106 provides options

By Jim Churchill


Dear Editor:

This November we will have the opportunity to vote on the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, Prop 106. This is a statutory proposition, not a constitutional amendment, initiated by Coloradans for Coloradans. Modeled after Oregon's Death with Dignity Act of 1997, it has the support of many Republicans and Democrats both. This is not a political issue.

We know from statistics that the thorough protections built into the act prevents misuse and abuse. This act will take government out of medical decisions best left to patients, their doctors, their families and their faith. There is no role for government, or anyone else, in the very personal and difficult decisions made at the end of a person's life. It is completely up to the individual to make the decision, and I believe it is their choice and right to do so.

The individual must be 18 or older, mentally capable, with a diagnosis of a terminal illness likely to cause death in 6 months, as confirmed by two physicians. The person is counseled on all feasible treatment alternatives. The person must make two verbal requests with a 15-day waiting period in between, and a third request made in front of two witnesses (one of whom cannot be related). The person must be able to self-administer the medication without assistance. These are just some of the safeguards.

I have had personal experience of family and friends ending their lives with pain and suffering and wish they had had the choice to make this decision, based on their own values and beliefs. I know I want this option of choice for myself. I am voting in favor of Prop 106.

Jim Churchill
Cedaredge