1)How can you be sure such patients are sane if the state grants them
the right to assisted suicide? The fact that they want to end their
lives may reflect their suffering from clinical depression or another
2)Wouldn’t a patient from a low-income family be more inclined to seek
assisted suicide to spare their family member from having to take care
of them and pay their expenses in their declining years. Isn’t it
unfair that the pressure to end one’s life is at a higher level for a
poor person in contrast to a rich person?
3)Should any efforts at assisted suicide involve a physician
supervising the proceedings? If so, wouldn’t that be a violation of
the physician’s ethics in that he/she is doing something that violates
the Hippocratic Oath that instructs physicians to “First do no harm”?
“MARYLAND CONSIDERS LEGALIZING MEDICALLY ASSISTED SUICIDE”
LEGISLATION THAT would have allowed medical assistance in dying for
people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness came within one
vote of passing the Maryland General Assembly last year. The House had
approved the bill, but it failed in the Senate on a 23-to-23 vote
after one senator said he couldn’t make up his mind and refused to
vote. The bill is up for consideration again this year, for the fifth
time since 2015. We can only hope that lawmakers finally give their
approval so that more dying people can, if they choose, be spared
Supporters of the measure, which would give mentally capable,
terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to
get a doctor’s prescription for life-ending medication, started the
session with guarded optimism. The legislation was carefully crafted,
modeled after the experience of Oregon and other states that have
successfully authorized death with dignity with none of the dire
consequences conjured up by opponents. There were 53 sponsors. (The
number has since increased to 69.) Sen. William C. Smith Jr.
(D-Montgomery), a lead sponsor, was the new chairman of a key
committee critical to the bill’s advancement. Key legislative leaders
were on board. And significantly, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) expressed a
willingness to look at both sides of the issue.
Unfortunately, it is unclear whether the legislation will make it to
the floor of either chamber before the session’s end next month. The
House, which easily passed the bill last year, seems to be looking to
the Senate to take the first step. But Mr. Smith and Senate President
Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore) have said they won’t advance the bill
unless they are assured the votes for passage. One senator who voted
for the bill last year resigned for health reasons and was replaced by
a former delegate who voted against it. Sen. Obie Patterson (D-Prince
George’s), who punted last year with his non-vote, has not disclosed
his intentions. “I know what I’m going to do. I just don’t want to
reveal it at this point. . . . I need to keep it sacred,” he told
Maryland Matters reporter Bruce DePuyt last month.
Mr. Patterson and other members of the General Assembly should not be
given a pass on this issue. There’s no question medical assistance is
a fraught issue, but the merits of this bill — which polls have shown
is supported by most Marylanders — deserve discussion and a decision.
That is what leadership is about. We urge Mr. Smith and Mr. Ferguson
to make a priority of the Maryland End-of-Life Option Act, and we urge
Mr. Hogan to follow through on his pledge to examine and take a stand
on the bill. They may think they can wait another year. But
Marylanders such as 38-year-old Debra Cirasole, suffering from
terminal brain cancer and wanting the choice to die in comfort rather
than in pain, can’t.