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General Assembly - Jan. 29 2020

From the State Capitol in Richmond, I’m Craig Carper.

Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to request physician assisted suicide. 

Under the legislation, doctors could prescribe a self-administered drug to end a patient’s life. It would also make it a felony to forge patient requests or unduly influence them to choose suicide. 

Sarah Stern says this bill would have helped her husband, who chose to end his life after exhausting available treatment options for his advanced brain cancer. Without his doctor’s help, he stopped eating and drinking and died of thirst.   

Sarah Stern, Compassion & Choices (9 seconds)

“People should have options. No one compels them to do anything. But they should be able to make their own choices and have them respected.” 

Kristen Hanson’s husband JJ also developed brain cancer in 2014 but responded to treatment. He survived for 3 and a half years after doctors told him he had 4 months to live. 

Kristen Hanson, Patient’s Rights Action Fund. (14 seconds)

“Thankfully JJ didn’t end his life. But he said if he had, had those suicide pills with him during those days he might have taken them. And you can’t undo that choice. You can’t go back.”

The bill has yet to be heard in committee. 

For Assembly 20, I’m Craig Carper. 


VPM News is the staff byline for articles and podcasts written and produced by multiple reporters and editors.