Maryland lawmakers are once again proposing a bill which would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the state. The Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act was introduced in the Maryland House of Delegates on Jan. 29 and would permit terminally ill patients to request “aid in dying” medication after meeting certain requirements.
In 2019, a similar bill, which had been introduced three times previously and failed to advance to a vote, was denied by the Maryland State Senate in a tie 23-23 vote.
The Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act would permit adults who are mentally capable of health care decisions and who have received a prognosis of six months, to request aid-in-dying medication that they must ingest themselves. A series of requirements would ensure the patient has gone through a series of verbal and written requests to their doctor for the aid-in-dying medication before it is prescribed, in addition to other requirements.
Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide, a nonpartisan coalition in opposition to the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Maryland, said in a statement the changes to the bill which were suggested last year were not included in the 2020 version of the bill.
“The result is that the General Assembly is once again being asked to consider legislation that is unethical, discriminatory, and hopelessly flawed,” the statement said.
The Maryland Catholic Conference, which partners with organizations in the Maryland Against Physician-Assisted Suicide coalition, remains opposed to such legislation that “seeks to legalize the intentional taking of human life,” according to the conference’s website.
Jennifer Kraska, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said in a statement the conference is once again turning to the Catholic Advocacy Network to encourage constituents to reach out to their representatives.
“We are grateful to everyone in our Catholic Advocacy Network, who together sent more than 10,000 messages last year against physician-assisted suicide, and helped defeat this bill, but we need your help again this year,” she said.
Since being introduced to the current Maryland House of Delegates, the bill has been referred to the Health and Government Operations Committee and the Judiciary Committee.
The latest local and global Catholic news delivered to your inbox.