LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Michiganders with terminal conditions may soon have the option to request prescription medications to die “on their own timeline.”

Senate Bills 678-681 would create a legal process by which a terminally ill person could obtain prescription medications to end their life. The bill package was introduced Thursday and is collectively being called “The Death with Dignity Act.”

“Granting individuals the autonomy to choose dignified end-of-life care is not just an act of compassion but a testament to the value of personal freedom,” said Singh in a press statement. “This legislation offers the solace of choice, while also providing critical safeguards to ensure its application is safe and protects our most vulnerable patients.” 

The bills include safeguards Senators Mary Cavanagh (D-Redford), Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores), Sam Singh (D-East Lansing) and Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe) said in a press release.

Here are the safeguards the news release highlights:

Embedded in the package are numerous regulations, safeguards, and considerations that ensure the safe practice of the policy, including determining that the patient is terminally ill with fewer than six months to live; ensuring the patient is able to make the voluntary decision of medical aid in dying; a minimum 15-day waiting period; access to insurance coverage in treatment and benefits in death; licensing requirements, limitations, and protections for prescribing physicians; and criminal penalties for non-compliant physicians.  

–Michigan Senate Democrats Press Release, Nov. 9, 2023.

“So many of us share the painful experience of having witnessed a loved one suffer, knowing they could have benefitted from an expanded end-of-life care option. Patients deserve the trust and respect to make their own medical decisions, including the choice to determine their own timeline to end ongoing suffering during the oftentimes dark battle they face,” said Cavanagh, lead sponsor of the bill package. “The Death with Dignity Act honors the autonomy and dignity of every person, ensuring they maintain power in the entirety of their life. This is a compassionate policy that would provide Michiganders and their loved ones with peace of mind when facing terminal illness.” 

Said Hertel, “This legislation has important safeguards while allowing an individual to make this difficult decision with their physician and family. With its passage, Michiganders will have access to this compassionate option that is available in other states.” 

If the bills pass the legislature and are signed into law, Michigan will become the 11th state and join Washington D.C. in enshrining some decisions about end-of-life care, including self-termination, in law.

“All individuals have a fundamental right to dignity,” said Klinefelt. “This legislation will finally provide Michiganders facing terminal illness with the freedom they deserve to write the final chapter of their own story with grace. Whether they choose comfort care, hospice care or pain management — this bill ensures that all options are accessible and respected.”