Eastern shore lawmakers weigh in on assisted suicide bill

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – If you became terminally ill and found yourself suffering with only months or weeks to live, would you have the right to take your own life? That’s the question lawmakers across the state of Maryland may soon have to find the answer for as officials once again introduced the Richard E. Israel and Roger ‘Pip’ Moyer Death with Dignity Act to legislators on Tuesday.

“This is a tool for someone to make their choice,” said Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.

Officials say the bill would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take, if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep.

“At the end of the day this is a decision for you whether or not you’re going to continue to live in excruciating pain throughout the next few months of your life,” Sample-Hughes said.

But, not everyone is on board with the idea, and say that’s what services such as hospice care are put in place for to help ease the transition.

“We have great services and so I am opposed to these obligations that we tend to put on individuals to end their life,” said Delegate Chris Adams.

While others believe passing this type of legislation would be sending the wrong message to those who’ve suffered with suicidal thoughts.

“How do they rationalize seeing or justifying, or saying that it’s okay for someone with a terminal illness to end their life when these people may have considered it and that was to leave the message that is okay,” said Wayne Hartman.

Creators of the bill have also made some changes to the legislation since they introduced it nearly four years ago, by requiring a doctor, family member, and a third party to sign off on the decision. Which has gotten a green light from other local lawmakers.

“It makes it a better piece of legislation naturally, but it also makes me of the mindset that I will be supporting the legislation,” said Sample-Hughes.

Sample-Hughes adds that the next step is for legislators to bring the bill before the health and government operations committee, which she serves on, as well as the judicial committee in the house and senate so both sides can have an opportunity to weigh in on the legislation.

She adds that once it sees a favorable recommendation out of the committee, it will go to both the house and senate floor for a vote.


Categories: Local News, Local Politics, Maryland