HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A plea to state lawmakers Monday from people with terminal illnesses.They want Connecticut to join several other states in allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to help end life.
On Friday at this time, News 8 told you how many disability rights activists are opposed to this bill, along with the Medical Director of the Connecticut Hospice. Monday we heard from those with terminal illnesses.
“Even with all the medication in the world, I still am being trapped within my own body and it feels like a torture chamber,” said Sara Myers, Kent.
Those with terminal illness came forward to tell lawmakers Monday, when the end is near they’d like to have the choice to make it happen.
Like Sara Myers, she knows her amyotrophic lateral sclerosis will kill her.
It’s known to most people as ‘Lou Gerig’s disease’ because it killed the famous New York Yankee player.
“When the days become intolerable, to know that you have the option…it…there’s nothing like it,” said Myers.
64-year-old Barry Williams of Glastonbury, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, a sometimes slowly progressive condition that in addition to causing physical disability, can induce cognitive issues like hallucinations and delusion.
He also wants to have the choice.
“Simply bad public policy, really has no place in a situation which is a private matter, the state should not get involved,” said Michael Culhane, CT Catholic Confrence.
But as News 8 was first to report last week, the state’s new Roman Catholic Archbishop has urged all Catholics to call their lawmakers to oppose this bill saying it will lead to abuse.
State Attorney General George Jepsen testified in favor of the bill before a packed Public Health Committee Monday. As a State Senator twenty years ago, Jepsen introduced a similar bill that failed.
“There’s safeguards, in terms of requiring two physicians, there has to be two requests more than fifteen days apart. It has to be less than six months to live and if there’s coercion involved…that’s a felony, it’s murder,” said Jepsen.
There was also a disability rights advocate who said that he fears this bill because lethal prescriptions are much cheaper than chemo-therapy and other treatments and that could lead to unintentional abuse if the state and or insurance companies refuse to pay for the more expensive treatment.