Please support Medical Aid in Dying legislation for the terminally ill in Ohio.

Jim O'Neil with a plea for legislation in memory of his wife Addie who died in January 2020. Photo: Jim and Addie of Wadsworth in 2018 (photo provided by Jim O'Neil).

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New Mexico just became the ninth state (along with the District of Columbia) to pass Medical Aid in Dying legislation. These laws allow a mentally capable, terminally-ill adult with less than six months to live to obtain a prescription from their doctor to end their life peacefully and at the place and time of their choosing.

As your constituent, I urge you to support Medical Aid in Dying legislation for the terminally ill in Ohio. I call on you to re-introduce SB 249, first introduced in 2018 in G.A. 132 by Senator Charleta Tavares.

The bill includes stringent safeguards that have proven effective, with no abuse cases, in over 40 years of experience with medical aid in dying laws in these states. This is very patient-directed. Only the patient can make the request, qualify for, and then decide if and when to use the prescription. Two doctors must verify a terminal diagnosis with less than six months to live, that the request is voluntary, and that the patient is mentally capable of making the decision. The person must also be able to take the medication on their own.

Doctors and pharmacists may opt not to participate and the patient may change their mind at any time. This option can be in combination with hospice and over 90% of people who have used these laws were also enrolled in hospice care.

Seven in ten Ohioans, including me, believe that terminally ill people should have the option of Medical Aid in Dying according to a May 2018 survey of Ohio voters. Though these people want to live, this law would give them comfort and peace of mind when facing their death. Currently, one in five Americans has access to this option. It's time for Ohio to have this legal option too.

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