Lauren Book files ‘Death with Dignity Act’ allowing terminally ill people to self-euthanize
Lauren Book gets support from a range of advocates, including the Sierra Club.

The bill comes less than a month after a Daytona Beach woman shot and killed her terminally ill husband.

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book is sponsoring legislation to give terminally ill adult residents a way to end their lives gracefully.

Book filed the “Death with Dignity Act,” which would allow Florida residents with terminal conditions to request and receive medication to end their lives in a humane and dignified manner.

“(E)very competent adult has the fundamental right of self-determination regarding decisions pertaining to his or her own health and recognizes that for some faced with a terminal condition, prolonging life may result in a painful or burdensome existence,” the bill says.

The bill comes less than a month after 76-year-old Ellen Gilland shot and killed her terminally ill husband in a Daytona Beach hospital bed. Gilland now faces first-degree murder charges. Gilland said she and her husband planned the shooting to end his suffering. Last week, the 7th Judicial Circuit Court denied her bond.

“This is extremely sympathetic,” Judge Karen Foxman said at the end of the hearing Friday. “(But) the law in the state of Florida does not allow for a mercy killing.”

Book’s bill, a near copy of an identically named bill former Boca Raton Sen. Kevin Rader filed more than a decade ago, would somewhat change that by enabling doctors to prescribe lethal medication to dying patients who want to end their lives.

To receive such medication, the person must be clinically diagnosed with a terminal condition confirmed by a second, consulting physician. The person must voluntarily express his or her wish to die and be deemed both competent and informed of the decision’s graveness.

The measure would not extend to people who want to die solely because of age or disability. However, it would extend to terminally ill prisoners.

To obtain lethal medication, patients would first have to make two verbal requests with their doctor 15 days apart from one another. They’d then have to make another written request. If a doctor determines a patient will die within 15 days of making the first verbal request, the patient would be allowed to make the second verbal request any time after the first one. Either way, doctors would have to wait 48 hours after the written request to prescribe the life-ending medication.

It would be voluntary. Doctors would not be required to participate. Patients may rescind suicide drug request at any time.

Hospitals that choose not to participate may fire doctors under their employ for violating their nonparticipation policy. They may also terminate the leases of medical professionals and businesses renting space at their facilities and reduce or eliminate certain benefits offered to them. This would not apply to doctors who act “outside the course and scope” of those hospitals.

Nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted legislation allowing self-euthanasia, according to More than half a dozen others have bills pending this year.

Like those, Florida’s version outlines numerous compliance and record-keeping safeguards, including that the Department of Health must annually review a sample of records and publish a report on its findings.

The bill also includes guardrails for how the proposed law would impact contracts, wills or other agreements. For instance, the measure would ban any changes to a person’s annuity policy or life, health or accident insurance because that person knowingly ingested life-ending medication.

Further, the bill lays out penalties for related wrongdoing. Any person who forges a medication request or coerces others into requesting medication would face a first-degree felony charge punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo has yet to refer Book’s bill to committees. Rader’s “Death with Dignity” bill, which was assigned to the Health Policy, Judiciary and Rules committees, died in March 2020 without a single hearing.

Two decades earlier, former Senate President Jim King successfully passed legislation of the same name to expand eligibility for hospice care.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Rob Petrie

    February 16, 2023 at 8:24 pm

    This will open doors for money killings instead of mercy killings. Inheritance insurance come to mind. Heck if you kill your dog or horse and call it a mercy killing your going to jail.
    Its best to keep your loved one doped up on opiates and stuff like that so they feel no pain and pass on in their own time peacefully.
    Lauren Book is likely a nice person who is drawn to fringe issues based not on logic but based rather on her feelings. Y’all be respectable to Ms. Book but dont allow this bill to pass in Florida. We might all go to Hell if that bill gets passed. Does anybody still remember the Big 10? Let me give you a clue: Thou Shall Not Kill. Ever heard that before?

    • Barnabus Sprinkle

      February 16, 2023 at 9:35 pm

      It’s not “Thou shall not kill,” it’s “Thou shall not murder,” mistranslated but later corrected. Otherwise, how could any God-fearing nation justify war?

    • A.E.R.

      February 17, 2023 at 2:31 am

      Rob, FL is not your church. We do not make laws based on your Christian book of mythology. We are a secular nation. We all have the right to die with dignity.

      • cassandra

        February 17, 2023 at 6:24 pm

        Thank you, A.E.R.

      • Mac Wiseman

        February 17, 2023 at 8:52 pm

        Non Belivers I wont be there in Hell with you all to hear your wailing, gnashing of teeth, and all the other stuff the good book describes as Hell. You likely will keep repeating for eternity some mumbleing gibrish about a Christian Book of Mythology. Did you notice I capatilized Hell in honor of who you worship. You should repent A. E. R. turn before you burn.

    • Peggy

      February 17, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Bad take. This is isn’t Iran. We don’t pass laws based on ancient superstitions.

    • Stu Allen

      February 18, 2023 at 3:09 pm

      In a state that has double the COVID deaths post-vaccine as most others…..discussing “who is allowed to kill who” seems a moot point! We know FL is #48 in health care and #2 in inequality – and has a low (#39) GDP per capita. This means many people are going to have painful last days (or years!).
      Put another way, the Gaetz Family, which started the vast chain of Hospices that houses the elderly during COVID (and didn’t make workers take the vaccine) – that’s PROFITTING off death.
      But you or I making a conscious decision about our own health? You can step in front of a train or use a gun (most do).
      You could simply call this a “less mess and trauma” bill.
      Oh, BTW, even where it is 100% legal (Switzerland) very few people take the deal – so you can put aside any worries about tens of thousands lining up to die early.
      Florida “freedom”? We have freedom to dump poo in the water (no inspection of cesspools), freedom to dirty the air (no inspection of cars) and so on and so on.
      But we could get 5 years for an OZ. of Pot and can’t even control the end of our own lives? That’s the complete opposite of “Freedom”.

    • Stu Allen

      February 18, 2023 at 3:20 pm

      Remember the Golden Rule. You don’t need 10 – you only need one! As we speak our Munitions are killing hundreds of thousands the world over – so much for murder or killing.

      But the one – is “do unto others”. Ask some people about their relatives who lived for 5 years in a bed without being able to move….and who, in that 5 years, did away with 100% of the Family net worth so that the rest of the family is now penniless and working at 70 years old.

  • It's Complicated

    February 17, 2023 at 3:41 pm

    Florida Statutes call it “Self Murder”.

  • Bradley Williams

    February 17, 2023 at 4:56 pm

    All of the legalized assisted suicide laws create the perfect crime by prohibiting investigations, requiring falsification of death certificates and requiring no provision for a witness to the so called self administration of the poison…

    • Virginia

      February 17, 2023 at 6:46 pm

      The law specifies the person must have a terminal illness.

    • Stu Allen

      February 18, 2023 at 3:13 pm

      So, if I get the drift, you think FL State Government is so moral and upright that they have a better handle on controlling my life than I do…and should maintain that I have no say?
      Seems like the ultimate in Big Government.
      It’s literally the largest “freedom” issue existing – the decision whether to exist or not. But we should let the Witch Doctor (our current SG) set the policy along with Ron?
      Amazing how quick people are to give an important decision to a Politician! Truly!

    • Stu Allen

      February 18, 2023 at 3:17 pm

      Note – one of the BIG issues in Florida today is that the current biggest money making for the state as a whole is Medicine – from Medicare to Medicaid to Tens of Billions for COVID – open the paper up and you will see Medical Fraud in Florida is big….Medicine has taken the place of Drugs as our largest industry.
      It makes perfect sense that all these Hospitals – where 1/2 million dollars in billing is normal for the final months – would be against the idea that folks could avoid those costs.

      Heck, we elected a Gov and Senator who paid the biggest Medical Fraud fines in history – who also cut down Public Health to nothing.

      It’s not a “conspiracy theory” to understand Rick Scot and the tens of billions in the giant Florida “vending machine of medicine”.

  • Bradley Williams

    February 17, 2023 at 7:03 pm

    Yes “ The law specifies the person must have a terminal illness.” and still
    creates the perfect crime for the same reasons by prohibiting investigations, requiring falsification of death certificates and requiring no provision for a witness to the so called self administration of the poison…

  • Eric Zink

    February 19, 2023 at 11:44 am

    As a funeral director i see what happens with families and decedent’s in their final months and days. I’ve seen enough to know that if there is away i can die with dignity, then I should have that option. There is no reason to force someone to keep living if they are in pain that can not be cured.

  • Scott Sonnier

    February 22, 2023 at 10:41 am

    Lauren Book certainly loves bills that involve death. Abortion, death penalty, and now this. There is something seriously wrong with this creature.

Comments are closed.


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