I am writing to bring attention to all Wisconsin residents and ask for support of the compassionate bill that would allow terminally ill patients to request life-ending medication.

On June 23, 2017, a medical-aid-in-dying bill, S312, was introduced by State Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, and a companion bill, HB216, was introduced by Reps. Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains, and Dianne Hesselbein, D-Middleton. The bills failed to pass. Sen. Risser has brought this bill to vote nine times since 1994. This law is long overdue—25 years overdue.

This bill permits an individual who is of sound mind, is not incapacitated, is at least 18 years of age, is a resident of Wisconsin and has a terminal disease to request voluntarily medication from his or her attending physician for the purpose of ending the individual’s life in a humane and dignified manner. The bill authorizes the individual’s attending physician to issue a prescription for the medication if specified requirements are met. Further, the bill creates a statutory request for medication authorization form and requires that the Department of Health Services prepare and provide copies of the form for distribution to certain facilities, associations and persons.

My sister was diagnosed with lung cancer in May of 2017 and died in November of 2018. She suffered 18 months. If this law was passed, she would have avoided five-plus months of agonizing pain and suffering if she had this choice. Why did my sister have to suffer so much?

Please Google Brittany Maynard, a woman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer who moved from California to Oregon to end her life in 2014. Maynard chose Oregon because California had not yet passed its aid-in-dying law, and Oregon allowed terminally ill patients to legally end their lives. (https://compassionandchoices.org/stories/brittany-maynard)

Seven states and Washington, D.C., have death with dignity statutes: California (2016), Colorado (2016), District of Columbia (2017), Hawaii (2019), Maine (2019), New Jersey (2019), Oregon (1997), Vermont (2013), Washington (2008). And the whole country of Canada. Why not Wisconsin? Since 1851, Wisconsin claims to be the “forward state,” but is backwards on this issue. Surveys show more than 70 percent of Wisconsin and U.S. residents want this choice!

Also please learn all you can about death with dignity laws. Information is power and control for your life, and the more information you have, the better!

Contact the Wisconsin State Assembly and tell them you want a medical-aid-in-dying bill passed. Get their contact information at www.legis.wisconsin.gov and contact them today. For you and for yours, please contact your senators, Assembly reps and all their staff. Call them, email them, send them an old-fashioned letter and go to the beautiful Capitol. Tell our 33 senators and 99 Assembly reps that you want this law to pass. These 132 people are the only people in Wisconsin that can make this choice available to 5.8 million Wisconsinites. If you really want this to pass, contact them and their staff every day till it is passed!

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