End-of-life bill withdrawn

A bill that would have allowed terminally ill patients in Maryland to legally end their lives failed to capture enough support from state lawmakers to advance in the General Assembly, leading sponsors to withdraw the proposed measure.

On March 3, Del. Shane Pendergrass (D-District 13) and Sen. Guy Guzzone (D-District 13), both from Howard County, pulled the Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer End-of-Life Option Act from the House of Delegates and Senate, respectively, over insufficient political backing in the House, according to multiple reports.

Under the legislation, terminally ill but mentally competent patients with six months or less to live would have been allowed to end their lives using a lethal drug prescribed by a doctor. Patients would have been required to visit with two doctors — including their primary care physician — and request the life-ending prescription three times.

Pendergrass and Guzzone did not respond to a request seeking comment.

After Oregon became the first state to approve assisted dying statuses in 1997, the practice has gained modest traction around the country. Just last month, the District of Columbia became the sixth jurisdiction to enact an aid-in-dying law.

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