State Campaigns in Full Swing

Supporters and legislators from coast to coast are calling for the passage of medical aid in dying laws in their states in 2019.
February 12, 2019

Advocates at Maryland Lobby Day.

Thirteen states have introduced legislation to authorize medical aid in dying so far this year, and we anticipate bills in at least seven more. Expert leaders have turned out at multiple hearings showing their support for medical aid in dying with more hearings to come. In New Mexico, Maryland and New Jersey, Compassion & Choices was on site working with teams on the ground to help pass legislation so more Americans can have access to this end-of-life option.

On January 28, legal, medical and movement experts, including Compassion & Choices CEO, Kim Callinan, appeared before New Mexico’s House Health & Human Services Committee to testify in support of the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act. The bill passed the committee in a 4-3 vote. The House Judiciary Committee heard the measure February 8 and is expected to vote soon. The next day, supporters returned to the capitol to lobby lawmakers. Compassion & Choices staff gave each legislator aa book filled with moving personal stories of New Mexicans with terminal illnesses and their families.

On January 29, over 100 supporters gathered at Maryland’s capitol to urge legislators to pass the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End of Life Option Act. Constituents from across the state visited 158 legislative offices, echoing the theme of the day: the time is now. They were joined by a diverse group of 68 cosponsors, the largest number of cosponsors yet in the state, to hold a press conference that garnered coverage from major media outlets. Tom Quash, Chief Marketing and Program Officer, Compassion & Choices told the crowd, “terminally ill Marylanders with six months or less to live are counting on their lawmakers to pass this bill this year, so they do not suffer needlessly at the end of their life.”

In New Jersey, Compassion & Choices continued a media campaign to bring a medical aid-in-dying law to the Garden State. Geared at supporters and lawmakers, the campaign includes a video featuring Susan Boyce, a terminally ill New Jerseyan. On February 7, lawmakers in the Senate Health Committee heard testimony from Compassion & Choices staff, again including CEO, Kim Callinan, and supporters. Susan Boyce told the committee, “I would like the option of medical aid in dying as a last resort to ease my final days. I know it will give me peace of mind simply having the medication, even if I never use it. It will make it easier for me to fully live out the time I have left.” The committee voted to move the bill forward by a vote of 6 to 3 for consideration by the full Senate. Passage by the Senate and full assembly are all that is needed to pass the law.

Legislators are listening to the majority of their constituents who want medical aid in dying as an option. Each of these steps is critical to bring us closer to our goal of ensuring every American has access to a full range of end-of-life options. To keep up with the latest developments, visit In Your State on our website.

Compassion & Choices
Media Contacts

Sean Crowley
Media Relations Director
[email protected]

Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
[email protected]
(323) 819 0310

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