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Marylanders Turnout in Large Numbers to Oppose PAS

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Maryland State House

We want to start off by thanking every single person who showed up at one of the legislative hearings, submitted testimony, contacted their legislators, and shared our posts on social media. Thanks to you all, we continue to demonstrate to Maryland’s elected officials how strong the opposition is to physician-assisted suicide. While we still have a lot of work to do before this legislation is once again defeated, we are confident that it can be done. If you would like to contact your legislators, please email us at campaign@stopassistedsuicideMD.org.

House and Senate Hearing Recap:

This past Friday, February 15th and Tuesday, February 19th, Delegates and Senators were able to hear from members of the coalition about the dangers of the “End of Life Options Act” – House Bill 399 and Senate Bill 311. An array of health care professionals, senior and disability rights advocates, faith leaders, and numerous others stood up for Maryland’s most vulnerable residents.  From explaining how this legislation would amplify disparities in our health care system, to pointing out the immediate risks posed by this misguided policy, the danger of this bill was once again made clear.

“As our state considers the adoption of medical aid in death policies, it is essential that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have their rights and interests protected. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, ignorance, prejudice, and discrimination against people with intellectual and developmental disabilities persists, including the documented history of denial of basic rights and medical care,” according to Ande Kolp, Executive Director of The Arc of Maryland. “Because some members of our society incorrectly perceive that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a poor quality of life, these individuals are particularly vulnerable to suggestions their lives be ended. This places them at an extraordinary risk with regard to medical aid in death policies.”

While the potential for cases lacking true informed consent stands out to many as a danger we cannot afford, the risk that the drugs given to patients to induce death will go unused and unaccounted for is equally alarming.

“In states where physician-assisted suicide is legal we know that many patients will receive but never take the lethal dose and there are zero controls to prevent the drugs from falling into the wrong hands,” according to Christine Sybert, Clinical Pharmacist at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. “There is a very real concern that by legalizing the practice of physician assisted suicide we are exposing our communities to a new source of addiction and harm due to drug misuse and abuse.”

Drugs prescribed under similar laws across the U.S. are classified in the same category by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as OxyContin and fentanyl.  Passage of the physician-assisted suicide would introduce large quantities of dangerous controlled substances into Maryland homes. There are many significant and immediate risks from this bill that Maryland should not allow, but the bill’s problems go much deeper.

“Physician assisted suicide is based on false ideas about prognosis. Physicians simply cannot predict a 6-month prognosis with sufficient accuracy to ensure that some patients would not die needlessly under this bill,” said Dr. Joseph Marine, Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. “In such a situation, the 6-month prognosis provision is practically unenforceable, and virtually anyone with a serious, potentially fatal illness could have access to assisted suicide under the law, regardless of actual prognosis.”

Thank you again to everyone who has contributed to defeating this dangerous legislation. If you want to join us in fighting this predatory proposal, please send your name and home address to campaign@stopassistedsuicideMD.org so that we can assist you in contacting your legislators directly. As important as it was to have a strong turnout at the two hearings, it is critical that Maryland legislators hear directly from their constituents.

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