New Mexico Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Passes Senate Public Affairs Committee

Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act Advances to Senate Judiciary Committee
February 26, 2019

(Santa Fe, NM – Feb. 26, 2019) — The New Mexico Senate Public Affairs Committee today approved a bill that would allow terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable by a 4-3 vote. The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act (SB 153) now moves to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a 9-3 vote on Feb. 13 and the House Health & Human Services Committee voted to pass the legislation on Jan. 28, by a 4-3 vote. Prior to moving through the legislature this session, the city councils of Las Cruces, Santa Fe and Albuquerque voted on bipartisan resolutions in support of medical aid-in-dying. Polling shows that 65 percent of New Mexicans support the legislation.

Sixty-five percent of New Mexicans support medical aid in dying legislation, including 58 percent of New Mexican Catholics. And the vast majority (88%) of voters agree with the statement “how a terminally ill person chooses to end his/her life should be an individual decision and not a government decision.”

Maria D. Otero, founder of Nuestra Salud of Albuquerque, held back tears as she spoke about her father-in-law, Pablo, a devout Catholic who died in 2018 from a very aggressive cancer after suffering from extreme bone and back pain, difficulty walking, incontinence and weakness throughout his frail body.

“My father-in-law was grounded in his faith until the last moments of his life,” she said. “But he wanted to die peacefully. He begged me for something so he would not suffer anymore during his last days.”

“We are grateful that this legislation is advancing through both chambers so swiftly and that both House and Senate committee members recognize the urgent need this end-of-life option would bring to terminally ill New Mexicans,” said Elizabeth Armijo, Regional Campaign & Outreach Manager for Compassion & Choices.

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