Colorado voters voted overwhelmingly this week  to support the right-to-die measure that was on this year's ballot, and here's what you need to know about the new assisted suicide law.

Religious objections aside, opponents of Proposition 106 were fearful the measure would simply encourage more people to take their own lives, would make it easier to commit suicide, or, perhaps, be a step toward anything-goes-suicide.But, the measure was approved by some 65% of Colorado voters, so clearly the majority has spoken.

But, the fact is, Colorado's new suicide law is far from any of those.The measure, which allows a patient to obtain prescription medication for the purpose of ending their life, contains very specific stipulations and guidelines for those to which it applies.

The measure stipulates:

  • There must be two oral requests at least 15 days apart, and a written request to a physician
  • The person must be capable of taking the drug unassisted
  • A person may change their mind and rescind their request at any time
  • Two doctors must determine the patient is  of sound mind and capable of making the choice on their own
  • The person must have a prognosis of six months or less to live

Colorado becomes the sixth state to have some sort of aid-in-dying legislation, which accomplishes two things. It makes the life-ending drug available to terminal patients, and it protects physicians from being prosecuted for prescribing such medication.

Only time will tell how many people in Colorado will take advantage of this new legislation, but, at least after years of battling to make it happen, the option will soon be available to those that qualify.

[NPR]