State Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) announced today that he has filed legislation that would provide Indiana with a “death with dignity” law enabling individuals with terminal illnesses to request medication that would give them the option of ending their lives in a peaceful, humane manner.

Pierce says House Bill 1157 would allow an adult diagnosed with a terminal disease that will end the person’s life within six months to voluntarily request and receive a prescription medication that can be used, if necessary, to die in a peaceful, humane manner. The measure is based upon a law passed in Oregon in 1998. Four other states — California, Colorado, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia have passed similar laws.

In order to receive the medication, Pierce said his legislation would require a patient to request the medication on a written form signed by two disinterested witnesses who attest the patient is competent and acting voluntarily. The request is followed by a 15-day waiting period and second written request for the prescription.

A second doctor is required to confirm the diagnosis and that the patient is making a voluntary decision before a physician can prescribe the medication.  Patients would be informed of other available options such as pain management and hospice care.  They would be referred for counseling if depression or another disorder is impairing their judgment.

You can hear Pierce in the Leon-Tailored audio above.  In part one, he outlines the legislation.   In part two, he takes questions from the media.