State senators gave preliminary support today to a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with a prescription drug.
The vote was unusual. Senators voted 17-to-13 against the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that the bill be rejected.
The Senate will debate the bill again on Wednesday and will probably put it to a final vote on Thursday.
Senator Claire Ayer led supporters of the bill.
"This bill asks for one more option for dying patients," she said. "It allows them to participate in their on their own terms and in a way that leaves them the way they want to be remembered."
Senator Dick Sears heads the Judiciary Committee and was the leading opponent.
"Justice Blackmun said it best when debating the death penalty. Government has no business in the machinery of death," Sears said.
Senators will be able to offer amendments to the bill on both Wednesday Thursday and those amendments could leave its ultimate fate uncertain.