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2017 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills
SB 354 (cross-filed with HB 370)
The text and analysis of SB 354 were identical to those of HB 370.
Both of the bills were withdrawn by their sponsors due to insufficient support.
2016 Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills – Did not pass
Text of bill
Analysis of bill |
The bill was withdrawn on March 3, 2016 when it became clear the measure did not have the votes in committee.
Doctor-prescribed suicide bills, titled the “Death with Dignity Act,” did not pass
Text of SB 676
Status of SB 676
Text of HB 1021
Analysis of HB 1021
The bills were effectively killed on April 1, 2015 when to key committee leaders decided not to vote on the proposal.
Current law regarding assisted suicide
With the purpose of assisting another individual to commit or attempt to commit suicide, an individual may not:
By coercion, duress, or deception, knowingly cause another individual to
commit suicide or attempt to commit suicide;
Knowingly provide the physical means by which another individual commits
or attempts to commit suicide with knowledge of that individual’s intent
to use the physical means to commit suicide;
Knowingly participate in a physical act by which another individual
commits or attempts to commit suicide.
[Md. Crim. Law Code § 3-102]
Failed attempts to permit doctor-prescribed suicide
Bills (HB 933 and HB 474 were proposed in 1995.
“Lawmakers say death with dignity law ‘just a matter of time,’ despite bill withdrawal”
(Carroll County Times — March 5, 2017)
Del. Shane Pendergrass and Sen. Guy Guzzone, both Howard County Democrats, said they do no have enough support to pass the bill, marking the third year in a row Democrats have given up on passing aid-in-dying legislation.
“Disability Advocate Sheryl Grossman Gives Moving Testimony Against Maryland Assisted Suicide Bill”
(Not Dead Yet — February 16, 2017)
“As a disabled person, this bill scares me even more because I know the societal barriers (stigma and discrimination) that we face. [Referring to a doctor] On her way out she said, ‘I don’t understand why you want to live like this….'”
More on Maryland
More on Disability Perspective
“Maryland senator withdraws right-to-die measure”
(WTOP — March 3, 2016)
Sen. Ron Young, a Frederick County Democrat, said he withdrew the bill Thursday, when it became clear the measure did not have the votes in committee.
“Aid in living, not dying”
(Baltimore Sun — February 24, 2016)
Around the country we have seen a concerted effort by special interest groups to promote the legalization of physician-assisted suicide, including legislation introduced in Maryland. Although these groups claim to be speaking for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities, no majot disabilities rights groups support physician-assisted suicide. In fact, these laws make people with disabilities more vulnerable and reinforce the damaging perception that life with a disability is “undignified” and not worth living.
“Right-to-die advocates pushing hard for legislation in Maryland in 2016”
(Washington Post — October 12, 2015)
Maryland is one of several states, including New York, where national advocates for assisted suicide plan to focus their efforts for the upcoming legislative sessions.
“‘Death with dignity’ bill extinguished without a vote”
(Baltimore Sun — April 1, 2015)
Hope ended Wednesday for those who wanted Maryland to pass a “death with dignity” law this year. Leaders of two key committees considering a bill that would have allowed doctor to prescribe medicine to help terminally ill patients end their lives decided not to vote on the proposal, effectively killing it.
Position Statement on SB 676/ HB 1021, Death with Dignity Act
(The Arc — March 2015)
The Arc Maryland’s concerns include lack of protections, historic discrimination in the medical field based on perceived “quality of life” of persons with disabilities, and lack of treatment and other options….
More on Disability Perspective
“A safe place for abused seniors”
(Gazette.net — February 9. 2015
“[A] person who is vulnerable because they have physical or cognitive challenges may be reluctant to leave an abusive situation, particularly because the abuser is also the victim’s caregiver….[A]wareness of elder abuse is probably about 40 years behind where awareness of child abuse or marital abuse is.”
“Only four percent of reported elder abuse cases come from the elder person; 96 percent of the reports come from somewhere else.”