HARTFORD, Conn. – The state has no compelling interest in preventing terminally ill patients from choosing to end their lives, Attorney General George Jepsen told a legislative committee during a hearing Monday.
Jepsen was one of hundreds of people to offer testimony on legislation that would allow a doctor to prescribe lethal medication to a dying patient. This is the second consecutive year the the Public Health Committee has held hearings on such a bill, but Jepsen sponsored similar legislation 20 years ago when he served in the state Senate.
The policy, which has been approved in three other states, is controversial and opponents are concerned that if it passes, terminally ill people may be coerced into suicide. Jepsen said constituents have told him that dying patients already are taking their own lives.
“This happens all the time but it happens in the dark and all the issues that you raise pursuant to coercion are swept under the rug. It would be much better and far more sensitive to bring it to the spotlight where there is an orderly process,” he said.
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