DENVER (CBS4) – This November Colorado voters will be asked to decide on Proposition 106 which is the Colorado End of Life Options Act — known as assisted suicide.
Both sides debated the issue on CBS4’s election partner Colorado Public Television Channel 12.
The Colorado Legislature took up three bills in the past and they didn’t even make it out of committee, but voters often don’t agree with lawmakers.
Proposition 106 is arguably the most emotional issue on the ballot.
It all started with a letter. Suffering from ALS, Charlie Selsberg begged the state Legislature for a law that would give others what he didn’t have — a humane death. In desperation, he starved himself to death.
Selsberg’s daughter, Julie Selsberg, tried to get that law passed, but failed. Now she is asking voters to do what lawmakers wouldn’t — allow Coloradans end-of-life options.
“Most people, who at end of their life, do have a medicine cabinet full of medication that can accomplish that. We don’t have to codify in our laws that puts people like me at risk,” said Carrie Ann Lucas in the debate.
Lucas worries about coercion by greedy heirs and abuse by profit-driven insurers. The initiative requires two oral and one written request and you have to administer the drugs yourself. But it does not require a witness.
“There’s not anybody who is waiting around to say, ‘I’m going take advantage of the aid-in-dying law that’s going on in Colorado in order to carry out my criminal act,'” Julie Selsberg said. “I’m a career prosecutor. If people want to commit this kind of a crime, they are going to do it.”
Julie Selsberg says it gives those who are dying a choice in how they live their final days.
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Lucas says it gives someone who wants to hasten the death of another a way to do so.
“There’s no going back, this is the end, so if there’s a mistake, you can’t fix it,” Lucas said.
“This law does not bring about more deaths, it brings about fewer people suffering,” Julie Selsberg said.
A similar law has been in place in Oregon for 18 years. There’s has been no reported cases of abuse there, but opponents contend it would be difficult to track since the cause of death is recorded as the underlying disease and isn’t investigated.