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Assisted suicide bill could offer life-ending medication in North Dakota

Mark Scneider, cancer patient testifies in support of HB 1415
Mark Scneider, cancer patient testifies in support of HB 1415(KFYR)
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 2:49 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Six Democratic lawmakers and one Republican have introduced a bill that would legalize assisted suicide in North Dakota. Only eight other states currently allow the practice.

The bill outlines the qualifications a patient must have before they can be prescribed life-ending medication. Two physicians must determine the patient has a terminal disease before the patient can submit a written request to end their life.

One man with terminal cancer says he’s qualified to speak for those who are dying because he’s dying himself.

“Everyone must be able to make an intelligent and informed decision on when to say enough is enough,” said a patient with terminal cancer, Mark Schneider.

But some medical leaders say assisted suicide goes against the very nature of what physicians are supposed to do: heal patients.

“They must provide good communication, emotional support, adequate pain control, and appropriate comfort care while never abandoning the patient,” said Donna Thronson of the North Dakota Medical Association.

The House Human Services Committee ended the hearing making no actions on the bill.

With many groups speaking in opposition and a couple in support, debate on the subject will likely continue.

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