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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas failed this week in a House committee, as none made a motion to advance the legislation to the full House.
House Bill 1536 was introduced by Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, and would have allowed patients who are “diagnosed with a terminal condition” to request a lethal dosage from their doctor. A terminal condition is defined in the proposal as “an incurable and irreversible disease that will, in the opinion of the patient’s physician, result in death within a relatively short time.”
The patient would be required to make two oral requests for the drug, fifteen days apart, and would also be asked to sign a written request in the presence of two witnesses.
The bill would grant a physician immunity from criminal or civil liability if the requirements are followed, in addition to noting to the patient both verbally and writing that he or she “could live longer than the time estimated” and offering the patient an opportunity to change their mind.
The doctor would also refer the patient to another physician to confirm the diagnosis, as well as to a mental health professional or clinical social worker for an evaluation of the person’s ability to make the judgment unimpaired.
“A life insurance company shall not deny benefits to a person or his or her beneficiaries for actions taken in accordance with [the law],” the bill further mandated.
According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Douglas argued
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