Only a few weeks into the 2024 legislative session, religiously motivated opposition has already made multiple attempts to repeal existing MAID legislation.
We have watched for years as our opponents cherry-pick statistics, make up catchy phrases, and simply tell falsehoods in efforts to stop Death with Dignity bills from being passed or even considered in state legislatures around the country.
Let’s be clear – every one of these efforts is religiously motivated, and powerful forces have conspired to take away your right to more options at the end of your life. Church doctrine, directly from the Vatican, condemns medical aid in dying (MAID), and our opponents will do anything, including lying, to make sure no dying individuals have access to Death with Dignity. That’s right, your access to MAID has been curtailed by someone else’s religious beliefs.
All too often we have seen legislators willing to carry these religious beliefs into the legislative arena across the country. This session is no different.
In the Death with Dignity movement, we’ve made tremendous progress through the years, and over 73.5 million people live in a state where MAID is permitted. As legislatures around the country get up to full speed, we’re seeing strong policy reform efforts in states like Virginia, New York, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. And, we’re seeing bills filed in red-leaning states like Florida, Tennessee, Iowa, and Indiana.
Our opponents are deeply concerned about our progress, and they are taking action to make sure none of us have bodily autonomy at the end of our lives.
Here are a few examples we are seeing already this year in legislative sessions:
In New Jersey, Assemblyman Robert Auth and a cadre of arch-conservatives have introduced a bill to repeal New Jersey’s Death with Dignity law, seeking to take away a right given to terminally ill people in the state since 2019. Instead, they want to substitute their own religious beliefs and reinsert government directly into the relationship between patient and doctor.
In Minnesota, opponents introduced a handful of amendments that were rejected by the committee that passed the bill 10-5-1. These same opponents then complained their voices of opposition were not being heard. The goal of these amendments was to make their aid-in-dying law less accessible to dying patients, to delay action, or to peel away support.
In Indiana, after HB 1011 was introduced to permit Death with Dignity, a group of lawmakers put forward a proposed resolution filled with falsehoods and made-up data calling on the legislature there to oppose HB 1011 and asking the legislature to affirm it will never pass MAID legislation.
In New Mexico and California, lawsuits challenging the opt-out provisions were filed by lawyers representing the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. While the stated objective was to make sure opt-out provisions were strong enough, the real goal is to make sure all of us fall in line with the morals and values of the Church and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations.
At Death with Dignity, we are committed to flushing out these attempts to make passing or implementing MAID laws less accessible to patients, and making sure we all have access to a full range of end-of-life options, regardless of someone else’s opposition based on their religious beliefs.