Coloradans Overwhelmingly Approve End-of-Life Options

Supporters of Prop 106 react to election results

Denver – Coloradans overwhelmingly approved end-of-life options for terminally ill adults. Proposition 106 was modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and will allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who are Colorado residents access to medication that would allow them to shorten the dying process if suffering becomes unbearable.

Julie Selsberg, co-petitioner of Proposition 106: “Today, Colorado makes history, as we are now the 6th state to authorize medical aid in dying to a certain subset of terminally ill citizens. My dad wanted this option, for peace of mind in his dying days and, ultimately, for the opportunity of a gentle passing. Now we know that Coloradans believe that offering the option of medical aid in dying is the kind, compassionate, safe and just thing to do. My dad’s dying wish was carried out by an extraordinary corps of statewide volunteers and campaign staff who answered the call of the terminally ill.”

Melissa Hollis Brenkert: “Today is bittersweet for our family. We wish that my sister would have had access to medical aid in dying when she was suffering two years ago, but passage of Prop 106 means that Coloradans will now have options when facing pain and suffering at the end of their lives. Terminally ill adults will now have another option and these deeply personal decisions will be made by Coloradans, their families, doctors and faith.”

Matt Larson: “Kelly and I would like to extend our most heartfelt and sincere gratitude to the voters of Colorado for taking the government out of this very personal decision, and instead placing this choice with terminally ill patients, their families and faith. Having endured a 5-hour awake brain surgery, 6 weeks of radiation, and 14 months of chemo – this November marks the end of the treatment phase! I’ll continue to have MRI brain scans several times a year, indefinitely, to ensure that the brain cancer has not recurred and everything remains stable. As Kelly and I try to adjust back to a normal life knowing there is a 50/50 chance that the cancer could recur, words are not sufficient to express how grateful we are to have this option, and how much peace and comfort it brings us. Thank you to the countless people that have offered prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes – we have been, and continue to be, profoundly touched by the outpouring of love and support.”

Jess Grennan, campaign manager: “We are proud of this campaign and that we were able to educate voters across the state about medical aid in dying. And we are humbled by the countless, deeply personal stories from people who have sat with loved ones at the end of their lives, have faced devastating illnesses, or have advocated for options for terminally ill Coloradans. Finally, we are honored to have had so much early work on this issue by Compassion & Choices and the Compassion & Choices Action Network in Colorado. Compassion & Choices is the nation’s leading advocate for people facing terminal illness and will be an invaluable resource as medical aid in dying is implemented in Colorado.”

Colorado is the 6th state to authorize medical aid in dying. An overwhelming majority in Colorado, regardless of political affiliation, believes there should be aid in dying for those who want it.

To be eligible for a prescription for medical aid-in-dying under the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act people:

  • Must be 18 years old
  • Must be in the final stages of a terminal illness defined as six months or less to live, and confirmed by a second opinion
  • Must be mentally capable
  • Must request and take the medicine by themselves (self-administer)
  • Must make two oral requests separated by a 15-day waiting period. A third written request, signed by at two witnesses, is also required.