Death with dignity to be discussed at D.C. Council hearing

WASHINGTON — The often-sensitive debate over what’s called “death with dignity” will have its first hearing in the District Friday, offering the public a voice on giving terminally ill people a way to end their lives.

The proposed legislation in the District requires two doctors to confirm a patient’s terminal illness. The diagnosis must be that the individual has six months or less to live. From there, the patient could get the prescription drugs to end his or her life.

The bill requires the patient to self-medicate.

“The main opponent of this bill, for me, is misunderstanding,” says Council member Mary Cheh. “If people understand what this bill is about, how narrow it is crafted and the kind of choice it gives people who are swiftly approaching death, I think people will support it.”

Friday’s hearing at 11 a.m. is just an initial step before the Council leaves for vacation. They will debate the bill in the fall.

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