ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Yesterday, the 2023 version of the “End of Life Options Act” (SB845) was introduced in the Senate and we expect a House version to be filed by the end of the week. The proposal is the same dangerous, misguided policy that has failed repeatedly in Maryland. The Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide coalition remains staunchly opposed to legalizing physician-assisted suicide (PAS) for the same array of concerns, which the bill’s proponents continue to ignore. The fact that the General Assembly is being asked to consider the same significantly flawed bill yet again shows that the out-of-state interests pushing their agenda in Maryland are out of touch with the people and leaders of our state.
“Physician-assisted suicide is a dangerous proposition for Maryland and there is significant concern among the community of health professionals with the harmful implications of legalizing this unethical practice,” said Dr. Joseph Marine, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
“As doctors, we endeavor to ensure that we ‘do no harm’ when caring for our patients and this legislation would put that oath at risk. This bill will damage trust between doctors and patients and harm the culture of caring that we strive for,” said Dr. Marine. “I am concerned that patients will gradually see assisted suicide evolve from a ‘choice’ into an expectation. There is evidence that insurance companies have declined coverage of life-extending treatments for patients in states where PAS is legal and instead approved coverage for these cheaper, experimental, non-FDA approved drug overdoses that end a patient’s life.”
This legislation is similar to what has previously been pushed by out-of-state interests for five sessions which has repeatedly been criticized as dangerously flawed, specifically because it would endanger vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, opening the door for abuse and coercion.
Drugs prescribed under similar laws across the U.S. are highly addictive, easily misused and classified in the same category by the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as cocaine, OxyContin, and fentanyl. Passage of legalized physician-assisted suicide would introduce large quantities of these dangerous controlled substances into Maryland. States that have legalized this dangerous practice report that many of the drugs given to patients to induce death go unused and unaccounted for, a risk Maryland cannot afford.
As we have seen from other jurisdictions where PAS was wrongly legalized, these out-of-state interest groups will continually push to expand the scope of the law and will use our state as ‘success story’, further endangering the lives of not only Maryland residents, but vulnerable communities across the nation.
About Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide
Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide is a nonpartisan coalition organized in opposition to legislation that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Maryland. The coalition is a diverse group of health care professionals, disability rights advocates, mental health professionals, advocates for seniors, and members of faith communities. For more information visit: www.stopassistedsuicideMD.org
Why should a person have to suffer for an extended period of time if their quality of life is unbearable to them? Isn’t it ironic that the democrats are Ok with abortions even after the child is out of the mother, but they don’t want this “choice” to be allowed…
CCAWM – You started out well but once you made this a political issue you lost your argument and probably the interest of most reading your comment. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans, it’s about human rights and decency.
If anyone has ever had family or loved one suffer from cancer, or any other debilitating disease you would say yes to this bill
I got a kick out the “do no harm” comment. How many people who read this have had doctors push ridiculous “life extending” drugs or surgery for a terminally ill patient? The only “harm” being done by a lucid, terminally ill patient who chooses to stop the pain is to the bank accounts of the Drs who want to milk the last dollar out of you they can. If you actually read this press release, they offer no real objection to the legislation. It is nothing but fear mongering and unsubstantiated commentary.
So, you have one doctor’s opinion shared in the article and he’s a cardiologist. Hmm. Is he the renowned authority on end of life decision making? What do the global studies and other doctors report? If there are issues with drugs going unaccounted for, that’s a whole other issue with hospitals and doctors requiring greater accountability and scrutiny. Doing no harm is a matter of perspective. A patient in excruciating pain or who has lost all function and believes themselves an awful burden might view being forced to remain alive as harm to themselves, especially if their diagnosis is terminal. Kyba (2002) wrote “…treatment decision making is grounded in the legal right to self-determination and the ethical principle of autonomy. Competent persons have the right to make treatment choices, based on their own values, beliefs, and life goals, even against the recommendations of their families and health care professionals. Several decades of court decisions, including Quinlan and Cruzan, have established the legal framework for EOL (End of Life) decision making.” There’s way more to an end of life decision than one doctor quoted in an article can posit from his one-sided view. Don’t we owe the reader all sides of an issue?
This wasn’t an “article” it was a press release. It was intended to be informational or educational. It is purely political and self serving.
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