Lexington Park, MD — Del. Deb Rey [R: District 29B] says she will oppose the proposed “Death with Dignity Act” now before the Maryland General Assembly. House Bill 1021 was heard last week in Rey’s Judiciary Committee. Rey announced her opposition at her second Town Hall meeting on March 7 at the Lexington Park Library.

The bill called the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death with Dignity Act, according to its synopsis, is: “Authorizing a qualified patient to request aid in dying by making specified requests; prohibiting an individual from requesting aid in dying on behalf of a patient; requiring a written request for aid in dying to meet specified requirements; establishing specified requirements for witnesses to a written request for aid in dying; requiring a written request for aid in dying to be in a specified form; requiring an attending physician who receives a written request for aid in dying to make a specified determination, etc.”

Basically a physician would have to determine if the terminally ill patient was mentally capable of making the decision herself or himself. The patient would have to administer the drug, thus avoiding it being an assisted suicide.

“I am against it. That’s my faith,” Rey said in response to a question about her position on the bill. She added, “I just don’t know how I would be able to vote for that.”

Prior to expressing her opinion to the approximately two dozen people assembled for the town hall meeting, Rey also listed some of what she believes are flaws in the bill that should be addressed if the bill is going to pass. “I don’t think that bill is ready for prime time,” she said.

One of the bill’s flaws, she said, is that she believes a licensed psychiatrist should be the one to determine if the person is mentally capable of making the decision.

She also doesn’t understand how a doctor who is bound by oath to save lives could prescribe a dosage that would lead to the taking of a life. One audience member also pointed out that a doctor’s duty is also to stop pain and suffering. But Rey said that didn’t negate the oath to save lives.

Rey also said the bill required doctors to essentially lie by asserting that the death was by natural causes due to a terminal illness to avoid the insurance problems that could arise with a suicide.

House Bill 1021 has 38 sponsors but the only one from Southern Maryland is Charles County Delegate C.T. Wilson [D].

Rey also bemoaned the failure in committee of the bill that would repeal Maryland notorious “rain tax.” She said, “I will continue to fight against it. You know, St. Mary’s County is the next to get it.”

But her comments also led to a discussion about the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. One questioner wanted to know how Maryland was going to be able to pay for the federal pollution control requirements absent a rain tax.

Regarding the Chesapeake Bay, Rey said the question of how clean the Bay needs to be or should be really hasn’t been answered. She asked, “What do you want. Do you want to be able to drink it?”

A member of the audience responded, “I would like to see a healthy population of oysters, crabs and fish,” noting that they were of benefit to the state’s economy.
Another man said, “If I can eat what is caught I think it is clean enough.”

Rey noted that 22 different gun bills will be heard in her committee Tuesday, March 10.

Rey’s next town hall meeting will be Sunday March 22 at 2 p.m. at the library.

Contact Dick Myers at news@thebaynet.com