Maryland Editorials and Opinion Pieces in Support of the End-of-Life Option Act

March 11, 2019

The Frederick News-Post editorial, “Right to a peaceful death,” March 11, 2019

“Medical aid in dying, as the End-of-Life Option Act would allow, is an idea whose time has definitely come. Anyone who has ever watched a loved one die a painful death — gasping for air, writhing in pain — cannot help but be supportive of the idea …

“…this bill does not entice people to kill themselves … This is not a law that could be used to pressure a disabled person to take their own lives. Pro-life groups opposing this law are misstating its purpose and impact.”

“We urge the General Assembly to approve the bill, to show compassion for Marylanders suffering from a terminal illness … Everyone should have the right to a peaceful death.”

The Maryland Daily Record, “[Dr.] David Meyers: Dying Marylanders need option for peaceful death,” March 7, 2019

“As a family physician I cared for people across the entire lifespan … despite medical, nursing, and psychological progress, some illnesses continue to challenge patients’ dignity and self-determination at the end of life.

“This legislation will empower people to make their own decisions with the support of trusted physicians about how they die. Even before I developed a terminal illness, I would have helped provide medical aid in dying — if it were legal — to my terminally ill patients who requested it.

“When this act becomes law in Maryland, I intend to go through the process to get the medications. Whether I eventually choose to take them or not, once I have them, I will be more able to focus on living a full life with less distraction from the fear of an approaching loss of self and loss of dignity.”

The [Easton, MD] Star Democrat editorial, “Sometimes we need options,” March 6, 2019

“A Public Policy Polling [survey] last month showed Marylanders support medical aid in dying by a 3-to-1 margin (66 percent to 20 percent), including majority support from African- Americans (59 percent) and many other demographic groups …

“Also, in a Goucher College poll released Feb. 18, Marylanders supported medical aid in dying by a 2-to-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent …

“With that kind of support from the voting public — both polls were geared to reflect the opinions of voters not the public at large — and the heartfelt testimony given at hearings over the last couple of weeks, legislators certainly have reason to vote in the affirmative this year.”

The [California, MD] Enterprise editorial, “When the end is near, making it easier,” March 6,

“Lawmakers have said this proposed measure is similar in scope to a living will or do-not resuscitate orders, in which terminally ill people are spared needless suffering in their final hours.

“But Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has not committed to signing the legislation into law should it pass. “I’m going to give a lot of heartfelt and thoughtful consideration” to the act, he said week, even before the measure had come out of committee.

“We would encourage the governor to do just that. And we encourage him to come to the conclusion that the time has come in Maryland for such a law.”

Baltimore Sun oped, “Oregon doctor: Md. physicians against medical aid in dying have no
experience with it; I do,” March 4, 2019

The Maryland State Medical Association is no longer opposed to medical aid in dying after a survey of its members showed a majority supported it …

“The unfounded fears raised by opponents of medical aid in dying are not a reality in Oregon because these dying patients are “connected” to hospice; they are all getting multiple evaluations for mental health and spiritual issues (by their hospice nurse, social worker, chaplain, etc.) …

“The reality is that since Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act took effect 21 years ago, more Oregonians have not died (they were all about to die), but fewer Oregonians have suffered. They got the comfort and respect we all deserve at life’s inevitable end.”

The [Annapolis] Capital Gazette oped by Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, “Terminally Ill
Marylanders shouldn’t have to suffer needlessly at life’s end,” March 3, 2019

“This legislation respects the morals and values of Marylanders who oppose medical aid-in-dying by making participation in it, by patients and healthcare providers, 100 percent voluntary …

After four years studying this issue, the bill is carefully crafted with checks and balances to protect patients, including those with disabilities, without creating needless regulatory roadblocks that would make accessing the law nearly impossible. It features 20 eligibility criteria and safeguards …

“This compassionate legislation embodies the values my mother taught me that I do my best to live by every day: Show sympathy for other people. Act humanely. Care and protect them.”

The Washington Post, “Editorial Board: Other states have pioneered death with dignity.
Maryland should follow suit,” Feb. 20, 2019

“Most persuasive, though, was testimony about how similar end-of-life laws have worked in Oregon — the first state to enact one, in 1997 — and other states…having more than 40 years of combined experience with assisted death, there have been no instances of documented abuse or coercion …

“The Maryland legislation is modeled after Oregon’s law. There are increased safeguards, including the requirement that a person make three requests (one must be made with the individual alone with his or her doctor) for a life-ending prescription …

“It is time for Maryland lawmakers to vote on this bill; we hope they agree that people should have the right to choice when it comes to their own deaths.”

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