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Remembering Where We Stand: Proponents Show Their Callousness

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As we enter the fall and the “Death with Dignity Workgroup” in the Maryland General Assembly holds additional hearings, the fight over physician assisted suicide continues in Maryland.  We feel that it would be helpful to remind people what this debate looked like at the last formal convening of the General Assembly in the spring.

Kicking off the March hearing, Delegate Pendergrass, the sponsor of the bill, stated that “Death with Dignity” is for people for whom “there’s no question [they’re] going to die, as will we all.”  While Delegate Pendergrass seemed very certain of the validity of statement, doctors are far less certain.  The fact is virtually all doctors will admit that a six month terminal diagnosis is simply an educated guess, with many patients living for months or years longer.

Delegate Pendergrass’s confidence in rationalizing this dangerous legislation by stating that we all die at some point just shows the proponents willingness to devalue the lives of those who are facing a time of need.  She also mentions that Medicare uses the six-month benchmark for hospice care, but here’s an important difference: hospice care is explicitly designed to provide the longest possible amount of time for families losing a loved one; while physician assisted suicide is a green light for immediate death.

We are confident that “Death with Dignity” proponents will re-file this bill in 2016. We cannot allow them to gloss over the facts about physician assisted suicide or the flaws in the legislation. Learn more about the bill’s flaws here and continue to read our blog in future weeks.

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