Many of us have lost a loved one to disease. They may have suffered for weeks, month, maybe even years.
Missouri legislators are on their fourth attempt to pass a so-called 'Death with Dignity' law that could end the suffering.
If the law passes, it means people who are ill could get prescription medicine from their doctor to ingest and die. But many people say that's far from a dignified death.
Jennifer Rhodes was against the idea of death with dignity until she watched her father battle cancer.
“To ease the pain. Nobody should have to go through that. I wouldn't want to. I was against all of it before,” she said.
Rhodes’ father, Rich Curtis, was battling both stage 3 lung cancer and stage 4 bone cancer. After two years of trying experimental chemotherapy drugs, Rhodes said her dad was drained.
“He looked like he was on death’s door,” said Rhodes.
Rhodes remembers her dad asking her mother a question she’ll never forget.
“He just looked at her and said, ‘If I get too bad, will you just put some pills in my mouth so I can go to sleep and never wake up?’” Rhodes said.
She believes her father wanted to take doctor prescribed medication to die.
California, Oregon, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington, Vermont and the District of Columbia have 'Death with Dignity' laws.
But, the idea is so controversial people can’t even agree on what to call it. Supporters call it 'Death with Dignity', but opponents call it 'physician-assisted suicide'.
The American Medical Association took a stance against it saying "Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks."
Deanna Wallace with Americans United for Life said it could be a slippery slope for all of us when it comes to insurance coverage.
“Where insurance companies say it doesn't make sense for us to cover something that will extend your life for six months but we will cover this $1.99 pill for you to kill yourself,” said Wallace.
Wallace also said most people choose to take prescription drugs to die because they feel they are a burden on loved ones. She also said that one of the biggest problems is that most states with 'Death with Dignity' laws don't require a designated person to be there when the drugs are taken.
“There's no way to know if they took it willingly or if they had changed their mind and were given it by a caretaker,” she said.
But for Rhodes, it all comes back to easing the pain.
“If we could put a dog to sleep and ease their pain, why can't we give a person an option for that,” Rhodes said.
Her father did not end his life with doctor-prescribed drugs. He was living in Florida and it was illegal. He died naturally.
Rhodes feels all people should have a choice in how their life ends.
“Laws need to be changed because [my dad] wanted that. I want my dad to be proud that something can be done from his death, his pain, his suffering,” Rhodes said.
Three 'Death with Dignity' bills were introduced in 2016 and 2017 to the Missouri House of Representatives and failed to ever move to a vote.
The fourth attempt was a bill introduced this year by Kansas City Democrat, Representative Brandon Ellington. 5 On Your Side contacted Rep. Ellington about his bill half a dozen times via email and phone. He never responded.