Controversial Conn. legislators propose and withdraw ‘disastrous’ suicide bill
Rep. Michael Lawlor / Sen. Andrew McDonald
Rep. Michael Lawlor / Sen. Andrew McDonald

.- The Connecticut legislators who sponsored a quickly withdrawn bill targeting the Catholic Church for financial and organizational restructuring have now introduced and hastily withdrawn a “disastrous” bill which would legalize assisted suicide in the state.

Senator Andrew McDonald (D-Stamford) and Representative Michael Lawlor (D-East Haven), co-chairs of the State Judiciary Committee, first made headlines with their sponsorship of S.B. 1098. The bill was quickly removed after it provoked Catholic outcry for its provisions which would have removed the ability of bishops to govern their dioceses and pastors to head their parishes.

This past Friday, the two legislators put forward Raised Bill 1138, “An Act Concerning Death with Dignity.” It was withdrawn from consideration on Monday.

Before the bill was withdrawn, a statement from the Diocese of Bridgeport called it a “disastrous bill” which “would effectively legalize assisted suicide in our state.”

On Monday CNA spoke with Sarah Kolb, clerk for the Connecticut Legislature’s Judiciary Committee.

She said the bill was pulled because it was “just a clerical error.”

“Regardless if a bill dies or not, all the actions taken up to that point are still printed on the website,” she said.

The descriptions of a bill being raised, referred and withdrawn are “all recorded online for the general public to see where a bill is at.”

“It wasn’t supposed to be printed on the bulletin, it was a clerical error, therefore it’s no longer being considered and it’s not going to be on the public hearing agenda.”

She told CNA she did not know whether the bill is going to be put on the agenda later this year.

R.B. 1138 stated: “An adult who is competent, is a resident of this state, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request… for medication that the patient may self-administer to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner…”

The bill provided a model consent document titled “Request for Medication to End My Life in a Humane and Dignified Manner.”

The proposal would have exempted from civil or criminal liability or disciplinary action medical professionals who provide lethal medication in compliance with the law. It also would have imposed punishments on those who coerce a request for fatal medication, alter or forge such a request, or conceal or destroy a revocation of that request.

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April 15, 2014

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