Disability is not a qualifying factor for medical aid in dying, nor are advanced age or chronic health conditions.
No one can make this decision for anyone else. The decision must be expressed orally and “sworn to” in writing, with attesting witnesses, and must be completely voluntary. It cannot be delegated to a family member, a health proxy or an advance directive.
No one has to participate. No doctor, no pharmacist and no patient is required to use the law.
Since the first U.S. law passed authorizing medical aid in dying in 1994 in Oregon, there have been no changes to the core safeguards. No law has ever been expanded to allow anyone who is not terminally ill to access medical aid in dying.
Medical aid-in-dying laws protect people with disabilities from coercion and exploitation through strict eligibility requirements and safeguards.
A person with a disability is only eligible for medical aid in dying if they are also an adult, terminally ill with six months or less to live, able to make informed healthcare decisions, and able to take the medication themselves.
No one can get a medical aid-in-dying prescription unless and until two doctors and two independent witnesses confirm that the person requesting it is not being coerced to do so.
Coercing somebody to use medical aid in dying is a felony punishable by criminal prosecution.
There has not been a single case of abuse or coercion regarding the use of medical aid in dying, nor any criminal or disciplinary charges filed in the more than two decades across 10 jurisdictions that authorize the practice, not one.