By Chris Haring
Maryland lawmakers considering the End of Life Option Act at two committee hearings this week are hearing a familiar rallying call from advocates: “my body, my choice.”
In an article published this past week, The Washington Post’s Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox described how “advocates of aid in dying are reframing their argument in their fight… asserting that bodily autonomy should be viewed no differently at the beginning of life than it is at the end of it.”
Since Maryland is, in their words, “a left-leaning state and one of the first in the country to abolish the death penalty and legalize same-sex marriage,” advocates like 83 year-old Lorrie Rogers believe this may be their opportunity to finally see a proposed assisted-dying bill – which has never before been the subject of a committee vote – gather majority support.
If the bill, which was initially introduced eight years ago, advances through this round of committee votes, it may receive its first formal vote since 2019 – when it, after an “emotional floor debate,” Wiggins and Cox wrote, passed the House of Delegates but failed in the Senate.
Despite Maryland’s “deep Catholic roots and large Black population (two groups that historically have not embraced the concept),” Rogers said she believes her efforts are not in vain.
“I think that makes an impact, the actual calls on the offices and the chats with the staff,” she said. “It’s something. It’s not nothing… I do think every little bit counts.”