In February, 2023, a group of Maryland lawmakers introduced the End-of-Life Option Act (The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings and the Honorable Shane E. Pendergrass Act). If passed, this would allow residents of Maryland to access medical aid in dying.
SIGN OUR PETITION to say that it’s time to pass Maryland’s End-of-Life Option Act and expand the right to Death with Dignity to those who live in Maryland.
Death with Dignity laws have been proven effective at improving healthcare quality at the end of life, regardless of whether or not an individual chooses to hasten their death. People travel from all over the world to access Maryland’s doctors and hospitals. Marylanders shouldn’t have to leave the state to receive the care they need at the end of life.
What is the Medical Aid in Dying Act?
If Death with Dignity passes in Maryland, a patient requesting aid-in-dying medication will have to be at least 18 years old, mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions, and diagnosed with a terminal disease that will result in death within six months.
Medical aid in dying does not create more deaths. It gives those who are dying a medical option to end their suffering.
Timeline of the Medical Aid in Dying Act in Maryland
In February, Maryland introduced their End–of–Life Option Act (The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings and the Honorable Shane E. Pendergrass Act) SB845/HB933.
After a public hearing in February, the Maryland General Assembly sets aside HB0643/SB0701 due to COVID-19. Meanwhile, January 2020 Gonzales Research & Media Services poll finds 66 percent of Maryland voters support Death with Dignity legislation.
A Public Policy Polling survey finds 66 percent of Marylanders support Death with Dignity as an end-of-life option. Sponsors again bring forward the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act, HB0399, and it passes out of the Maryland House of Delegates with a solid favorable margin. The bill later stalls in the senate by a single vote.
Majority of Marylanders want Death with Dignity
A Goucher College poll finds that 62 percent of Marylanders in favor of the pending Death with Dignity legislation.
Maryland Delegates again introduce HB370, Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act. A joint committee public hearing is held in February, but no votes take place.
Maryland’s physicians favor aid in dying
A survey of Maryland physicians finds 54 percent in favor of assisted dying. Lawmakers introduce cross-filed bills, HB0404 and SB0418, the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act. Despite not advancing, HB 404 sponsor Delegate Pendergrass expressed optimism, commenting in the Baltimore Sun,
“I’m always an optimist. If it doesn’t pass in one year, there’s always another year, and eventually it will pass. So the question is when it will pass, not will it pass.”
Meanwhile, the Maryland State Medical Society changes its position on assisted dying to neutral after a majority of respondents in a member survey advocate for a change from opposition.
The Maryland Assembly introduces cross-filed bills, SB0676 and HB1021, the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death with Dignity Act. Following committee hearings in both chambers, a decision is made to refer the bill for study. Study hearings are held in the fall. A Goucher poll shows 60 percent of Marylanders support the legislation.
Maryland considers physician-assisted death legislation in 1995 with H 933 and again in 1996 with HB474, Physician Aid in Dying.