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CoastLine: Physician-Assisted Suicide -- the Debate and Its Prospects in NC

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It was almost exactly two years ago that two North Carolina Representatives – both Democrats – filed a bill in the House that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. The other three sponsors on the bill -- also Democrats.  The proposed legislation passed its first reading in the House and went to the Judiciary Committee – where it never emerged because, bill supporters say, it was too close to the crossover date in the Legislature.  That day is the last for a bill  to pass out of the chamber in which it was introduced and move into the other chamber – in this case, the Senate, for consideration. 

There’s hope – as we’ll hear on this edition of CoastLine among death with dignity supporters – that the legislation will be introduced again this session.  There isn’t a lot of time left.  This session’s crossover date:  April 27th

But on this edition of CoastLine, we’re also going to hear from those who oppose this legislation – who say it not only raises the obvious questions about the sanctity of human life – but it sets up a dangerous and slippery for the deadly expression of implicit bias.


Jennifer Hawkins, Associate Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Duke University; Faculty Affiliate at the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, and the History of Medicine at Duke’s School of Medicine

Carol Cleigh Sutton, North Carolina State Coordinator for Not Dead Yet, a national, grassroots disability rights group that opposes legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia

Edmund Tiryakian, Co-founder and Executive Director of Dying Right NC, a nonprofit that advocates for death with dignity legislation in North Carolina based on the model of the current laws in Oregon and California.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.