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Update: PAS Supporters are Back in Maryland

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This year supporters held off on a push for legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS) due to the contentious political landscape. With a contentious election year, PAS advocates determined that the controversial bill – with widespread opposition- could hurt their key champions as they run for re-election. All advocacy efforts from supporters were quiet while Compassion and Choices, the large, well-funded group pushing PAS across the country prioritized their money and efforts in other states.

But now we’re seeing signs that PAS supporters will be back in full force in 2019. Already Compassion and Choices is targeting Maryland as a battleground state and organizing so called “workshops” around the State to prepare for a push in 2019. 

And right now they have momentum. This past spring Hawaii became the sixth state to legalize the practice and while a California judge suspended the law after ruling it was unconstitutional, an appeals another court reverse that decision. The case is now in an appeals court and a ruling is expected over the next couple months.

California has also recently released PAS data from 2017 showing similar statistics to Oregon. According to the LA Times, in 2017, 241 doctors wrote a total of 577 prescriptions.

Deaths by lethal prescription in 2017*

California

  • 51% were female
  • The median age was 74
  • 89% were white
  • 68% had cancer

Oregon

  • 42% were female
  • The median age was 74
  • 94% were white
  • 77% had cancer

*From the LA Times

There is momentum around the country and now there is no doubt that we will see a strong push in Maryland to legalize PAS in 2019. Supporters of the dangerous practice are already starting to mobilize and it’s critical that we once again have a strong coalition in opposition ready to fight back.

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