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Group urges Illinois lawmakers to reject assisted suicide legislation


(The Center Square) – A bill to allow what supporters call medical aid-in-dying in Illinois is getting pushback.

State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, is the sponsor of The End of Life Options for Terminally Ill Patients Act, which would allow terminally ill adults to have the option to get prescription medication to end their life.

Holmes said there are safeguards, including a requirement that the patient consults with two doctors beforehand.

“If either doctor has any concerns that you’re not mentally capable of making an informed decision like that, they refer you to a mental health care specialist,” Holmes said.

Holmes points to a poll that showed seven out of 10 Illinois voters want Illinois lawmakers to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation.

A group called Stop Assisted Suicide Illinois is taking a stand against the proposed legislation, and Wednesday during a news conference urged lawmakers to reject the measure.

“I believe that the role of a physician is to affirm the lives of patients, to relieve suffering, and give compassionate, competent care as long as our patients live,” said Dr. Kevin Garner, medical director of Chestnut Health Systems. “Assisted suicide ushers in abuse, discrimination and injustice.”

Julia Morell, who lost her father to cancer but who lived four years longer than doctors expected, said allowing assisted suicide is going down a slippery slope.

“They want to tell you that this bill will increase patient choice, but the reality is that the inevitable consequence of the legalization of assisted suicide is the release of a money hungry wolf in a sheepskin of patient choice,” Morell said.

Ten states have legalized medical aid-in-dying, with 19 other states considering similar measures this spring.

The national suicide and crisis line can be reached by dialing 988. Counselors provide free and confidential support for people in distress, along with prevention and crisis resources.

Catrina Petersen contributed to this story.