BISMARCK — The North Dakota House of Representatives voted 85-9 on Tuesday, Feb. 16, to throw out a bill that would have legalized medically assisted suicide for terminally ill residents.
House Bill 1415 had the backing of several Democrats, including Fargo Rep. Mary Schneider, whose husband testified earlier this month that he has a terminal case of urothelial cancer. Supporters of the bill said dying patients should have a right to choose when "enough is enough," so they can die with dignity.
Democratic Fargo Rep. Pamela Anderson called the legislation a "freedom bill," noting politicians and religious leaders shouldn't have a say in when a terminally ill patient can end their life.
Opponents of the bill said it presented a "slippery slope" and, if passed, the next discussion about assisted suicide could be centered on allowing the practice for healthier people.
Minot Republican Rep. Dan Ruby said he has witnessed family members die in a dignified way at the end of their natural lives, adding he doesn't think the medical profession should be involved in assisting death.
Eight states, the District of Columbia and Canada have legalized medically assisted suicide.