Congress to Vote on 'Right to Try' for Terminally Ill Patients

Posted: May 17, 2018 12:05 PM
Congress to Vote on 'Right to Try' for Terminally Ill Patients

The Right to Try Act, which would give terminally ill patients access to potentially lifesaving medicine, is getting a vote in Congress next week.

“Families across the country receive the devastating news of a diagnosis every day and next week the House will vote to give seriously ill patients the right to try experimental treatments when there are no other options left," GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said in a statement. "This will not only offer a chance for the patient to possibly find treatment but could open possibilities to help others do the same."

Vice President Pence cheered the news.

The legislation would give patients' access to experimental treatment. It would also give drug manufacturers and others involved in testing the drugs on humans liability protections if the treatment does not go as planned.

The Right to Try movement scored a victory in California this week when a judge overturned a law that permitted assisted suicide. In 2015, the state became the fifth to pass a law allowing patients to request life ending medication from their doctors. California Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia spoke up this week to declare physician-assisted suicide "is not health care." Pro-life groups like Americans United for Life were heartened by the news.

"Americans United for Life applauds California Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia for ruling that physician-assisted suicide is not health care," Catherine Glenn Foster, president and CEO of AUL, said in a statement. "Yesterday Judge Ottolia issued an order in Ahn v. Hestrin, explaining that California’s End of Life Option Act, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, violated legislative procedure rules because it was enacted during a special session focused on healthcare, and physician-assisted suicide “does not fall within the scope of healthcare services.” 

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The judge gave California Attorney General Xavier Becerra five days to appeal his decision.

"AUL urges California not to appeal this decision and to uphold its duty to protect the lives of all its citizens, especially vulnerable people groups such as elder adults and those with disabilities and illnesses."