- Associated Press - Sunday, January 1, 2017

SPEARFISH, S.D. (AP) - Angie Albonico was perusing the internet some months ago when she came upon a YouTube video detailing the plight of a young woman named Brittany, who was suffering from terminal brain cancer and sought to end her own life with dignity.

“It really spoke to me and captured my heart,” said Albonico, a 38-year-old married mother of three.

The video and further research alerted her to the fact that South Dakota does not allow assisted end-of-life measures. So now she’s on a path to change state law.

Dec. 22, state Attorney General Marty Jackley released his 26-section, 13-page ballot explanation for Albonico’s proposed law that, if passed by voters, would allow South Dakota doctors to prescribe drugs that terminally ill patients could take to end their own lives, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/2i8gsNt ) reported.

“It should be my right and my doctor’s right to determine when that time should come,” Albonico said of the initiated measure. “If that happens to me, I’d want to have that dignity to choose where I’m at, what comfort level I want to be at, and who surrounds me. We do that for animals; we ought to be able to do that for ourselves.

“This is not a choice I can make for you; this is a choice I can make for me.”

Albonico said she recognized the hurdles that awaited her and supporters of the measure, patterned after Washington state’s end-of-life law. By next November, supporters of the “Death with Dignity” measure must gather petitions bearing the signatures of 13,871 registered state voters which, when certified, would place the initiated measure on the November 2018 ballot.

“It’s quite the process,” Albonico said. “It will take an army of compassionate South Dakota volunteers to get this measure passed, but if we pull together, we can get it done.”

Although she said she had encountered some initial opposition to her proposal, more South Dakotans in the past week had voiced their support of the measure based on their personal experiences, according to Albonico.

“It’s important to note that with this law, doctors don’t have to prescribe this if it’s against their beliefs and that this is not a measure to give people with psychological problems a way out,” she said. “This is a measure to give those with terminal illness and less than six months to live a way to die with dignity.”


Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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