Maryland's proposed End-of-Life Option Act: Compassion and Choices speaker on this legislation, and why their organization supports it
Join us at a Zoom program with Compassion and Choices speaker Donna Smith, the DC and Maryland Campaign Director for Compassion and Choices, on the End-of-Life Option Act that was introduced in the MD legislature in January, and why Compassion and Choices supports it.
This Zoom event is free and open to all. You must register in advance.
PCV Members who need assistance with setting up to participate in a Zoom event should contact the Help Desk - 20854HelpDesk@gmail.com - well in advance of this program, so we can find volunteers able to teach you to know what to do on the morning of our Zoom event.
The End-of-Life Option Act, also known as The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings and the Honorable Shane E. Pendergrass Act (HB403/SB443), would, if passed, allow Maryland residents to have access to medical aid in dying, which would allow terminally ill adults to get a prescription they can then take to end their life peacefully.
Compassion and Choices says that, based on polling, a significant majority of Marylanders support what this bill would accomplish, with support coming from 78% of Eastern Shore residents; 71% of DC and Baltimore suburbs; 70% of Western Maryland residents; and 65% of Baltimore City residents. Similar support is seen across the political spectrum they say, with support from 66% of Republicans, 75% of Democrats and 67% of independents.
Maryland state elected officials supporting the legislation include Gov. Wes Moore, and Delegates Hill, Pena–Melnyk, Alston, Bagnall, Bartlett, Boyce, Charkoudian, Crutchfield, Cullison, Ebersole, Feldmark, Foley, Forbes, Fraser–Hidalgo, Grossman, Guzzone, A. Johnson, S. Johnson, Kaufman, Korman, Lehman, R. Lewis, Love, Martinez, McCaskill, Palakovich Carr, Smith, Solomon, Stein, Stewart, Taveras, Terrasa, Vogel, Watson, Wu, and Ziegler; and state Senators Waldstreicher, Lam, Elfreth, Gile, Kagan, Kelly, Lewis Young, Smith, West and M. Washington.
Opponents of the proposed legislation include many in the disability arena, who are concerned that those with significant disabilities will be actively encouraged to end their lives, once it becomes easier to do so. Many opponents believe that these measures create pressure on people with serious illnesses to end their lives to avoid being a burden on loved ones, and many object on religious grounds. The legislation is opposed by all of our area's Catholic bishops.
Ten states and the District of Columbia have such laws now, including Oregon, which adopted one 24 years ago. Similar legislation was proposed in Maryland over the past few years, but it has not been successful.