As per usual, the Idaho Legislature has reserved some of its most emotional debate for its final weeks (the controversial measure surrounding ultrasounds before abortions is scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, March 14).
The Idaho Senate is poised to again take up the delicate conversation surrounding end-of-life decisions. The Senate State Affairs committee voted March 12 to pass SB 1348, which would prevent physicians from denying medications, food and life-prolonging fluids to patients who have indicated that they want to receive them. The measure attempts to clarity existing law, confirming that patients are in charge of making their own decisions. The bill's sponsor, Cottonwood Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, said the current law allows a physician or nurse to deny treatments for patients who are near death if they have made an effort, but failed to find another doctor to care for the critical patient. Nuxoll's bill still allows patients and their families to decline treatment.