Frequently Asked Questions
Is there legislation in Illinois?
No, we are working on building a strong grassroots base and a pathway to victory at this time.
How many states currently have this option?
Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in 11 jurisdictions: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington, D.C.
Who is eligible for medical aid in dying?
In order to qualify for medical aid in dying, a person must be terminally ill, over 18 and mentally capable. The process starts when a terminally person asks their physician to prescribe medication that must be self-administered to achieve a peaceful death.
How do laws ensure people are mentally capable of making such an important decision?
A terminally ill person’s healthcare provider and a second consulting healthcare provider must agree that the person is terminally ill (in their reasonable medical opinion are expected to die within six months). Both doctors must also agree that the person is mentally capable of making an informed decision. If either doctor has any doubts, the person must be referred for an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional, and the process may only proceed if that professional concludes in writing that the person is mentally capable of making an informed decision.
What if someone changes their mind?
Choosing to use medical aid in dying is not an impulsive decision. To ensure this, anyone may rescind their request at any time or choose not to take the medication.
What about other options for comfort care?
The coalition believes that all terminally people should have every medical end-of-life option available. For example, the Oregon Act mandates that physicians explain alternatives such as hospice and palliative care. In Oregon, where the law has been in place for over two decades, the vast majority of people who use medical aid in dying are enrolled in hospice.
What about life insurance?
Medical aid-in-dying legislation makes clear that life insurance cannot be affected in any way by people using medical aid in dying. The law mandates that the death certificates list the underlying illness as the cause of death, like is done for other palliative care options.
Do healthcare providers have to provide this option?
No doctor, pharmacist or healthcare facility is obligated to participate. A healthcare facility which declines to participate in the act, and which provides notice of this to physicians, may sanction any physician who participates in the act on its premises.