HB 1021 and SB 676 are bills proposed in the Maryland General Assembly this session that would legalize physician-assisted suicide, which was previously outlawed in 1999.
Via Maryland Against Physician Assisted Suicide, here are flaws with the legislation:
- The legislation does not require doctors to give patients a screening for depression before providing physician assisted suicide.
- Patients can request physician-assisted suicide if a doctor has diagnosed them with a terminal illness and six months or less to live. Such a prognosis is nearly impossible to accurately predict.
- No doctor, nurse, or independent witness is present when the lethal dose is taken.
- People will pick up their lethal prescription at their local pharmacy.
- There is no requirement to notify family members that you plan on taking a lethal medication
Physician-assisted suicide is opposed by the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, the National Council on Disability, and several other medical groups.
For more information on this legislation, read a fact sheet. You should also contact your legislators to register your opposition to this bill. I have also heard in numerous discussions on this legislation that Governor Larry Hogan has said he would veto it if it passed.
All of the inherent flaws detailed above are sound reasons to oppose this legislation from a secular standpoint.
One of the religious groups opposing this legislation is the Maryland Catholic Conference. They have a fact sheet online also.
In his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae, Saint John Paul II wrote the following on the issue:
To concur with the intention of another person to commit suicide and to help in carrying it out through so-called “assisted suicide” means to cooperate in, and at times to be the actual perpetrator of, an injustice which can never be excused, even if it is requested. In a remarkably relevant passage St. Augustine writes that “it is never licit to kill another: even if he should wish it, indeed if he request it because, hanging between life and death, he begs for help in freeing the soul struggling against the bonds of the body and longing to be released; nor is it licit even when a sick person is no longer able to live.”
Even when not motivated by a selfish refusal to be burdened with the life of someone who is suffering, euthanasia must be called a false mercy, and indeed a disturbing “perversion” of mercy. True “compassion” leads to sharing another’s pain; it does not kill the person whose suffering we cannot bear. Moreover, the act of euthanasia appears all the more perverse if it is carried out by those, like relatives, who are supposed to treat a family member with patience and love, or by those, such as doctors, who by virtue of their specific profession are supposed to care for the sick person even in the most painful terminal stages.
Emotional arguments are being used by proponents of this bill to try to get it passed. If you oppose this legislation, your Senator and Delegates need to hear from you as soon as possible.