Voices Representing 70% of Nevadans Voice Support for End of Life Options Act Introduction
Mar 13, 2023 Nevada Nevada End of Life Options Act
Las Vegas Women with Incurable Cancer Pleads with Lawmakers to Pass Bill
Compassion & Choices Action Network today praised Senator Edgar Flores (D-Las Vegas) for introducing the Nevada End of Life Options Act (SB 239). The bill would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults to have the legal option to request and receive medication they may decide to take to peacefully end unbearable suffering. The compassionate legislation has 19 sponsors.
This bill's fate is especially urgent for Lynda Brooks-Bracey, a 57-year-old Las Vegas mother of four, living with advanced pancreatic cancer. In 2021, Lynda was enjoying a skiing trip with her husband when she complained of abdominal pain. Currently, Lynda is undergoing palliative chemotherapy to try to slow the cancer’s growth and reduce the symptoms.
“To have this end-of-life care option in Nevada would mean the world to me and my family and to terminally ill Nevadans who already know that their life is ending,” said Brooks-Bracey. “Unfortunately, given my rapidly declining health, it is unlikely that I will be alive when this bill becomes law. But I remain hopeful that it will be an option, if not for me, for countless others.”
“We are grateful to Senator Flores for the voices of the majority of Nevadans who support this compassionate legislation that allows terminally ill Nevadans the option to die peacefully, not painfully,” said Sara Manns, Nevada Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices Action Network. “Dying Nevadans do not have time to wait for another legislative session."
“The End of Life Options Act is very well-crafted legislation with strict safeguards,” said Senator Flores, the bill’s sponsor. “I urge my colleagues in the Nevada Senate and Assembly to support this urgent and compassionate bill, so terminally ill Nevadans are not forced to suffer any more.”
Nearly three out of four Nevada voters (72%) support medical aid in dying legislation, across the age, ethnic, gender, political and religious spectrum, according to a poll conducted in 2021 by Public Policy Polling.: The survey shows 73% of Hispanics/Latinos, 76% of African Americans, 67% of Catholics, 67% of non-denominational Christians, 74% of other religions favor a medical aid-in-dying measure. There is also majority support across the partisan divide, with Democrats (80%), Republicans (65%), Libertarians (82%), and Independents (62%), all expressing majority support for such a law. There were also high support levels among women (71%) and men (74%), and older age groups, including 72% of people aged 46-65 and 73% of people aged 66 and older, the poll shows.
“God has given me one more opportunity to use my voice..,” said Hanna Olivas, a 49-year-old Las Vegas mother and grandmother living with a rare form of incurable blood cancer, multiple myeloma.
"We hope lawmakers in the Silver State listen to the voice of the majority of Nevands who support this compassionate legislation so they are not forced to suffer needlessly at the end of their lives,” added Manns.
Medical-aid-in-dying legislation is supported by numerous Nevada state organizations, groups and chapters, such as the ACLU of Nevada, Nevada Libertarians, Nevada Green Party, Reno Human Rights Commission, Battle Born Progress, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Nevada Association of Health Plans, National Association of Social Workers and the Nevada Libertarian Party. In addition, the Nevada Medical Society adopted a neutral position on the bill, joining Nevada Psychiatric Association and Nevada State Board of Pharmacy.
Similar legislation has been introduced in previous legislative sessions. In 2021, state lawmakers were unable to pass the compassionate bill. SB 165, the Death with Dignity Act did not advance during the 2019 legislative session. In 2017, the bill did not hold a vote before the session ended.
Eleven jurisdictions have authorized medical aid in dying, including 10 states, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana (via state Supreme Court ruling), New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C. Collectively, these 11 jurisdictions represent more than one out of five U.S. residents (22%) and have decades of combined experience successfully implementing this medical practice. The bill is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which has been in practice for more than 25 years without a single instance of abuse or coercion.
About Compassion & Choices and Compassion & Choices Action Network
Compassion & Choices is comprised of two organizations that improve care and expand options at life's end: Compassion & Choices (501(c)(3)) educates, empowers, defends, and advocates; the Compassion & Choices Action Network (501(c)(4)) focuses exclusively on legislation, ballot campaigns, and limited electoral work.
Paid for by Compassion & Choices Action Network. CompassionAndChoices.org/Nevada
CONTACT: Patricia A. González-Portillo, 323-819-0310, [email protected]