Proposition 106 Raises Controversy and Emotions Across Colorado

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Proposition 106 is on Colorado’s ballot this year and it is sparking controversy among voters. A Yes vote on this measure allows terminally ill patients with less than six months to live to take doctor-prescribed life-ending medication. Yet, many Colorado citizens feel that more information is necessary to prevent the measure from being open to abuse.

https://public.health.oregon.gov/ProviderPartnerResources/EvaluationResearch/DeathwithDignityAct/Documents/year18.pdf

Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act statistics of DWDA prescription recipients and deaths

Colorado’s Proposition 106 is modeled after Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act. Since the law passed in 1997, a total of 991 patients have used the Act to end their lives by taking the medication. Since the Oregon Act, there has been no reported abuse or misuse of the drug.

But critics of Proposition 106 say it lacks the proper safeguards, including patients being allowed to take the pill without a doctor or a trained professional supervising the procedure.

While supporters of the measure say it allows them the freedom to make the most difficult choice of all.

Matt Larson, a brain cancer survivor, is campaigning for Proposition 106. Him and his wife Kelly have been promoting the measure on their website. “It’s a cause we believe in,” says Larson, “I don’t know that I’d use it. I hope that I win my battle and I’m never confronted with that decision. Just having that option would bring Kelly and me a tremendous amount of peace and comfort.”

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Matthew with his wife Kelly.

Tru Community Care believes that there are better alternatives to Proposition 106. Pat Mehnert, the Interim CEO and President of Tru Community Care, argues that hospice is a great way to reduce pain and suffering for the terminally ill. 

“We’re now in a scenario of we’re taking care of 2nd and 3rd generations of the same families.” Says Mehnert. “And they say the same thing to us. We’re so glad you were here. You supported us so much, and I wish we would have called you sooner.”

The government makes it illegal for doctors to offer medical aid-in-dying as an option for the terminally ill in Colorado. If Proposition 106 passes, individuals can decide what end of life options are best for them with the help of their family and doctors.

Ultimately it is up to voters to decide the fate of this measure.

Update: Proposition 106 was approved after 64.6% of voters said yes. 

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