Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book has filed SB 864, entitled “Death with Dignity” to give Florida residents who are suffering from a terminal illness with less than six months to live the right to decide for themselves to choose a medical aid in dying option in accordance with their own beliefs and values.
This bill guarantees the fundamental rights of a person with a terminal illness who is suffering at the end of their life, empowered to choose where and when they wish to end their suffering, which is essential to their liberty and autonomy.
“With this bill, we hope to have Florida join 10 other states and Washington, DC in guaranteeing an individual’s right to make their own health care decisions,” said Leader Book, a Democrat. “This law would not increase the number of deaths in Florida – it would simply increase compassionate, patient-centered end-of-life options for patients with a terminal illness when the last days of their life become too unbearable.”
“Medical aid in dying protects patients, affords dying people compassion during their most difficult time, improves end-of-life care, and costs states almost nothing to implement, except for the minimal costs associated with collecting data and producing the annual statistical reports,” stated Tony Ray, founder of Florida Death with Dignity.
Under this bill, a mentally capable, adult person with a terminal illness, and less than six months to live, can request a prescription for medication from their physician, which when self-administered will enable them to fall into a deep sleep and die in a peaceful manner.
The bill details many safeguards to prevent coercion and abuse; Physicians, healthcare professionals, and healthcare facilities may choose to participate or not; and the patient can change their mind at any time.