Santa Fe New Mexican: A brave woman leads the way on dying with dignity

An excerpt from the Santa Fe New Mexican column, “A brave woman leads the way on dying with dignity,” by Dr. Katherine Morris, published February 10, 2021:

"The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act is named after one of the bravest women I’ve met. While living with a cancer that had taken her ability to eat and breathe without tubes, aware this cancer would soon claim her life, she took time to advocate for the rights of others.

In 2017, she asked New Mexico legislators to allow mentally competent adults with less than six months to live the right to access medical aid in dying. Unfortunately, despite 20 years of data on this practice from Oregon, she was denied this right in New Mexico and suffered a difficult death in 2018. The act is now before the Legislature again. As a practicing surgical oncologist, I urge its passage...

I urge members of the New Mexico Legislature to reflect on their own desires for agency as they age and approach death. I pray they will consider extending this option to the citizens of this great state so that patients facing the end of their lives have what my patient in Oregon called “a door I can open” if this room becomes too hard to exist in."