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Physician Assisted Suicide Officially Returns to Maryland

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Maryland General Assembly

Last Thursday, Delegate Shane Pendergrass filed physician assisted suicide legislation with no meaningful changes from last year’s bill. State Senator Ron Young  cross-filed the legislation in the Senate.

The bill, H.B.404 and S.B.418, has a new, less controversial name, “the End of Life Options Act”, but it is virtually the same bill.

The General Assembly held several “Death with Dignity” Working Group sessions during the summer and fall of 2015.  They wanted to pretend they heard all of the concerns and that this bill is no longer controversial.  We need to make it clear that’s not the case, that the changes made are largely cosmetic.

This is the same bill that puts patients and families at risk in several ways, and ignores the root of the problem that is the need to expand on existing treatment resources for end-of-life care.  Members of our coalition are already standing up and speaking out, and one example was covered by WBAL News Radio 1090:

“Cristine Marchand, executive director of The Arc Maryland, a statewide advocacy organization for people with developmental disabilities. She says the group opposes the bill, because the developmentally disabled often feel like they are a burden and are vulnerable to coercion to please family or authority figures.”

This is bad policy for Maryland’s most vulnerable patient communities.

The proponents are well funded and well organized, but we can defeat this legislation again with your help.   We have three months to get the facts to legislators.

Let’s get to work.

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