Poll Shows 70% of MD Voters, including 79% of Disabled Voters, Support Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill

February 19, 2024

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Dozens of Bill Supporters Urge General Assembly Members to Pass Urgent Bill

(Annapolis – Feb. 12, 2024) Seven out of 10 Maryland voters (70%) and eight out of 10 Maryland voters with a disability (79%) support the End-of-Life Option Act, a bill that would allow medical aid in dying as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults to peacefully end unbearable suffering, according to a new poll. This voter support for medical aid in dying is consistently strong regardless of race, religion, party affiliation, abortion position, where the voter lives, or whether they live with a disability.

Only one out of five Maryland voters (22%) oppose medical aid in dying, according to the survey conducted by Gonzales Research & Media Services of 823 registered Maryland voters conducted via live telephone interviews on Jan. 23-Feb. 2 and sponsored by Compassion & Choices Action Network.

“This survey shows that the vast majority of Maryland voters will be grateful to Maryland lawmakers for passing this compassionate legislation and there are relatively few bill opponents,” said Donna Smith, Maryland campaign director for Compassion & Choices Action Network. “As the late great Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings said when he endorsed this bill just months before he died of cancer: ‘As a just and compassionate society, we cannot value life in the abstract and deny to those who are about to die the self-determination that they deserve.’”   

The poll is timely because the Senate Judiciary Proceeding Committee held a hearing on the legislation last Thursday but has not voted on the bill yet, and the House Health & Government Operations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill this Friday, at 1 p.m.

The survey was released at a Monday news conference hosted by bill sponsors and advocates during a grassroots lobby day in which dozens of Maryland supporters of the End-of-Life Option Act met with General Assembly members to urge them to pass the bill. 

The news conference featured a terminally ill woman, two retired Maryland physicians, one of whom is a cancer survivor but physically disabled with multiple sclerosis, a California man whose wife used California’s End of Life Option Act, and two bill sponsors, Senator Jeffrey D. Waldstreicher (District 18- Montgomery County), and Nicole A. Williams, Esq. (District 22-Prince George’s County).

Lynn Cave, a Silver Spring resident with stage 4 eye cancer that has metastasized to her liver

Lynn Cave, a Silver Spring resident with stage 4 eye cancer that has metastasized to her liver

“I’m doing everything I can to live,” said Lynn Cave, a Silver Spring resident with stage 4 eye cancer that has metastasized to her liver. “But, once I’ve been through everything my doctors know to try, I don’t want to extend my life if it gets to the point that I will suffer and die, no matter what my doctors do. Having the promise of a peaceful death on my own terms is my greatest comfort for what’s ahead. The time is now to end needless  suffering  when a prolonged death is what we face.”

“You protect people by giving them more options that they may avail themselves of, not less,” said Dr. Seth Morgan , a retired physician in Montgomery County with MS who survived cancer and is an advocate for people with disabilities. “Limiting the rights of a cognitively intact individual to make independent personal life decisions is the very definition of abuse and discrimination. Self-determination and expanding choice protects people with disabilities from abuse.”

“The time is now,” said Senator Waldstreicher, Vice-Chair of the Senate Judiciary Proceedings and Regulations Committee. “The data shows people feel strongly about having this option. My sister is someone with a serious disability…and she supports this option.”

“My grandfather passed away when I was a senior in high school from prostate cancer. He was in a lot of pain … in agony,” said Delegate Williams. “Unfortunately, this was not an option for him. I’m proud to support this bill as an African American woman from Prince George’s County…and was raised in the Baptist Church … It is really important that we pass this legislation this year.”

Nextdoor Washington, D.C. and 10 states allow the option of medical aid in dying , including nearby New Jersey . Collectively, these 11 jurisdictions represent more than one out of five Americans (22%) . 

“Terminally ill Marylanders deserve better than what my wife Brittany Maynard had to endure; leaving your home for another state after discovering you have only 6 months to live is a terrible injustice,” said Dan Diaz , husband of a terminal brain cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, who had to move from California in 2014 to Oregon to use its medical aid-in-dying law to end her suffering because California didn’t have such a law at the time. “The passage of this legislation prevents that injustice.”

Below is a detailed breakdown of the survey results.

  • Pro-Choice voters: 79%
  • Pro-Life: 42% (vs. 46% opposed)
  • Catholic voters: 62%
  • Jewish voters: 62%
  • Protestants: 70%
  • Other religion voters: 55%
  • White voters: 74%
  • African American voters: 66%
  • Other races voters: 60%
  • Democratic voters: 72%
  • Republican voters: 69%
  • Unaffiliated voters: 65%
  • Baltimore City: 71%
  • Baltimore Suburbs: 70%
    (includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford, and Howard counties)
  • Eastern Shore: 74%
    (includes Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester counties)
  • Western Maryland – includes Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties.
  • Western Maryland: 68%
    (includes Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, and Washington counties)
  • Washington, D.C. Suburbs: 70%
    (includes Charles, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties)

A graphic summary of the poll results is posted here.

The full poll results are posted here. 

In addition, the Maryland State Medical Society adopted a neutral stance on the bill after a 2016 survey showed a majority of its members supported it.

About Compassion & Choices/Compassion & Choices Action Network:
Compassion & Choices is comprised of two organizations that improve care and expand options at life’s end: Compassion & Choices (501(c)(3)) educates, empowers, defends, and advocates; the Compassion & Choices Action Network (501(c)(4)) focuses exclusively on legislation, ballot campaigns, and limited electoral work.Paid for by Compassion & Choices Action Network.


English Language Media Contact:
Sean Crowley, 202.495.8525, [email protected]

Spanish Language Media Contact:
Patricia A. González-Portillo, (323) 819-0310, [email protected] 

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