Assisted suicide bill fails

Joey Bunch -- Denver Post 

A bill that would have legalized assisted suicide in Colorado failed in a legislative committee on an 8-5 bipartisan vote Friday night.

The vote came after 11 hours of testimony from doctors, clergy and people with terminal illnesses and disabilities.

Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, broke down as she began her closing statement because, she said, she was moved by people's stories on both sides of the issue.

Some on the committee said they appreciated the compassion of the legislation's intent but thought the proposed bill lacked safeguards to prevent abuse and possibly provided incentives for insurance companies to tacitly urge sick people to consider the cheaper option of lethal, legal drugs.

"Supporting a concept and supporting a bill are two different things," said the committee's chairwoman, Dianne Primavera, D-Broomfield, who called her no vote one of the toughest choices of her caree

Hundreds of people filled the Capitol's largest public hearing chamber, as well as a smaller overflow room, to listen to testimony and wait their turn to testify.

The first witness was Dan Chapman, the assistant director of Colorado's Legislative Council until his retirement in 2008.

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