Suicide with a Helping Hand Worries Iowans On Both Sides of ‘Right to Die’

Suicide with a Helping Hand Worries Iowans On Both Sides of ‘Right to Die’

By: Kyle Munson and Jason Clayworth
Des Moines Register

Betsy Davis was too weak to kill herself.

So when it came time to end her life under a new California law for the terminally ill, her caregivers propped her up and held the cup as she drank a fatal mix of prescription drugs.

But physical assistance in taking the toxic medications is illegal, multiple experts contend.

Davis, a 41-year-old artist, suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The complications she experienced in taking her life while trying to comply with California’s assisted-suicide law are far from unique, a Des Moines Register investigation of assisted suicides around the nation found.

Such complications also offer reason to reconsider or adjust “right to die” efforts in Iowa, say both proponents and opponents of such a law here.

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