Kim Callinan for USA Today: Terminal patients deserve death with dignity. New Mexico aid-in-dying law sets standard.

September 18, 2021

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“I couldn’t take her pain away.”

Those were the words of Danny King after his wife Sharon King died. She is reportedly one of the first New Mexico residents to use the state’s new groundbreaking law that allows terminally ill adults to have better access to medical aid in dying. The law – which allows patients to take prescription medication that ends unbearable suffering – is already serving as a model for other states to improve current medical aid-in-dying laws or pass new ones.

New Mexico’s law is innovative because it corrects the access problem created by time-consuming regulatory roadblocks that can take weeks or months to overcome. It also maintains time-tested, core safeguards of similar laws in Washington, D.C., and eight states: CaliforniaColoradoHawaiiMaineNew JerseyOregonVermont and Washington.

These unnecessary hurdles often prevent a large percentage of terminally ill adults from using this peaceful dying option, causing needless end-of-life suffering. A 2018 study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California shows one-third (33%) of terminally ill adults who request to use California’s End of Life Option Act die before completing the law’s time-consuming, multi-step process, including many during the 15-day waiting period.

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