Israeli physician-assisted suicide bill advances

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The day after a Knesset committee advanced a physician-assisted suicide bill, an Israeli government minister appealed the vote.

The bill, which passed the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday in an 8-2 vote, allows a doctor to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to a patient who has been given six months or less to live without being held criminally responsible. The patient must be a citizen of Israel for at least five years when the drugs are prescribed.

In appealing the vote Monday, Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach of the Jewish Home party called the bill a “pill of death.”

The measure, which is modeled after Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law, was proposed by Yesh Atid lawmaker Ofer Shelah. It moves to the Cabinet for consideration.

Among its opponents are the Israeli Medical Association and Chief Rabbi David Lau, who told the Israeli media that “doctors have been given the job of healing, and when they cannot heal, they have no right to kill.”

Lilach, the Israel Society for the Right to Live and Die with Dignity, called on Israeli lawmakers to support the bill.

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