Man with Parkinson's pushes for right-to-die

Posted at 8:18 AM, Dec 20, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-20 10:18:06-05

A man with Parkinson's disease is pushing for the right to get end-of-life medication from a doctor here in Colorado.

He also would need to convince voters to approve it as a constitutional amendment.

Lance Wright has long supported the idea that people should have the right to end their own lives, closely following the 1994 Oregon debate that led to the nation's initial right-to-die law. But when the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease appeared 12 years ago, his interest became personal.

Wright's proposal goes further than what lawmakers and advocates of the "right-to-die" movement want, so it's already facing opposition.

Several other states, including Oregon, Washington and Vermont, allow doctors to prescribe end-of-life medication. California will do so when it's new law takes effect at the beginning of the year. Montana doesn't have a law allowing doctors to prescribe end of life medication, but a court has ruled that if charged, a doctor can use the patient's request as a defense.

There is already an effort underway to allow doctors in Colorado to prescribe end-of-life medication to some terminally ill patients.

Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, is sponsoring a bill called the 'Colorado End of Life Options Act.'

A similar effort failed during the last legislative session.

Opponents say there are still concerns that re-writing the bill can’t address.

Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Colorado Springs, said she’s concerned about the security of the drugs that would be used to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

MORE | Effort underway to allow Colorado physicians to prescribe aid-in-dying medication