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Nevada bill allowing medical aid in dying heads to governor's desk

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Alex Gonzalez

(Nevada News Service) A piece of legislation is headed to Governor Joe Lombardo's desk which would allow medical aid in dying in Nevada.

Last week, Senate Bill 239 made its way out of the state assembly on a 23-19 vote, which could give terminally ill adults the option to request a medical prescription for a peaceful death in the Silver State.

Sara Manns, Nevada campaign director for the Compassion & Choices Action Network, said she is thankful to Sen. Edgar Flores, D-Las Vegas, "for shepherding it through" what she called a "challenging legislative obstacle course."

Manns added the support for the law is "overwhelming," and according to a new poll by the group, 82 percent of Nevadans support medical-aid-in-dying legislation.

"Regardless of political affiliation, regardless of religion, regardless of rural, urban," Manns outlined. "This is something where once people know what it is, they would want to have it available to them. Would they all want to do it? Of course not."

Manns emphasized it has taken the Nevada End of Life Options Act eight years since its initial introduction in 2015 to get to this point. She noted her group, like many, is hopeful the governor will sign the bill. She added once the bill reaches his desk, he will have 10 days to sign it.

Lynda Brooks-Bracey, 57, a Las Vegas mother of four with terminal metastatic pancreatic cancer, said she was "excited" and feeling "anticipatory" when she found the bill had made it past the second house.

Brooks-Bracey learned she was terminally ill in February 2021. During her last months of life, she has made it her mission to be an advocate for the measure. Brooks-Bracey stressed she and her family feel hopeful Lombardo will approach the bill in a neutral manner and pay attention to what Nevadans want. 

"It has taken time to get the right bill, at the right time, that's clean, in front of this new governor here in Nevada that we have elected," Brooks-Bracey recalled. "And that he is neutral, that he is considering it, that he's looking at it. I think all things have come together in an appropriate time frame that Nevadans want it. They're ready for it."

Eleven jurisdictions have authorized medical aid in dying including 10 states and the District of Columbia. Compassion & Choices said no governor has ever vetoed a medical-aid-in-dying bill in any of the six states passing laws via legislative action.