Home USA Md. House Narrowly Passes ‘End of Life’ Bill for Terminally Ill

Md. House Narrowly Passes ‘End of Life’ Bill for Terminally Ill

Lawmakers listen to testimony on aid-in-dying legislation in the Maryland House of Delegates on March 7. (William J. Ford/The Washington Informer)

By William J. Ford

ANNAPOLIS — After more than an hour of emotional testimonies and debate, the House of Delegates voted Thursday in favor of legislation that would grant an option for terminally ill patients in Maryland to prescribe lethal doses of medicine.

The legislation, which has been in the works for four years and needed 71 votes for approval, passed 74-66. It now heads to the Senate.

“This is optional for people dying already,” said Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-District of 21) of College Park, who helped craft the bill. “It is not mandated for everyone. It’s knowing that you can have [the option] and can die in a compassionate way. It’s your choice.”

Peña-Melnyk said the bill outlines “a lot of safeguards” and modeled after legislation in Oregon that’s been in effect for more than 20 years.

For instance, a person must make must three requests, both oral and written, to a primary doctor and discuss the decision alone. In addition, a consulting physician would examine and review a patient’s records to determine if a lethal prescription would be warranted.

The primary doctor can also make a referral to a mental health professional to receive another diagnosis. A terminally ill patient would be one a doctor assesses who has less than six months to live.

Although lawmakers agreed with the intent of the bill, formally named the End-of-Life Option Act, some still couldn’t approve it.

Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-District 23A) of Bowie, who was a nurse 20 years ago, said it goes against ethical guidelines among health care professionals.

“Although there are these serious circumstances … ultimately no good can come from this,” she said. “We cannot control the future and the risks are too great. State government should never decide there are parameters upon which government is allowing and setting up a process for the extinguishing of life.”

Del. Terri Hill, a practicing physician and a Catholic, said the bill doesn’t impose societal, religious or governmental beliefs on an individual.

“When you can allay shame and guilt for someone who is acting in a way that relates to their own life and no one else’s and their belief in God and personal relationship with God, than that’s compassion,” said Hill, a Democrat who represents portions of Baltimore and Howard counties. “You don’t have to support that choice for yourself or another else to support this bill. You simply have to accept that this is the kind of decision that an individual should be free to make for themselves.”

Gov. Larry Hogan hasn’t indicated whether he would sign the legislation into law.

“This is a very serious issue and the governor will give this legislation careful consideration should it reach his desk,” said Hogan spokeswoman Shareese Churchill.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer. 

The company is managed in four parts such as i) movies, videos etc production unit, ii) Educational Unit, iii) Event produce & management unit and iv) online management &, marketing unit. All units are worked separately but corporate each other but all dealings should be done in the name of FOCUS A-Z.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Must Read

Black Women Take Home Top Directing Awards At Sundance Film Festival

Three of the top jury prizes at this year’s Sundance Film Festival were presented to Black women. Filmmakers Radha Blank, Garrett...

Ludacris Gives Florida High School Students $75,000 Worth of New Musical Instruments

Ludacris gave back in a major way when he visited a high school in South Florida on Wednesday, Jan. 29. With...

How to Visit Egypt on a Budget

Posted: 2/3/2020 | February 3rd, 2020 One of the countries high up on my “must visit” list is Egypt. As a lover...

When black cowboys paraded through Harlem with Muhammad Ali A path-breaking all-black rodeo in New York helped introduce America to a little-known piece of...

The afternoon of Friday, Sept. 3, 1971, was beautiful and sunny in Harlem as residents lined the streets and hung their...