Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s Bill to Allow Medical Aid in Dying Advances First Committee
Bill is named the Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act
Santa Fe – Today, the House Health and Human Services Committee passed a bill to allow medical aid in dying. House Bill 90, sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Sen. Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (D- Cerrillos), would allow mentally capable adults with a terminal illness to request and self-administer life-ending medications prescribed by a health care provider.
House Bill 90 would provide terminally ill but still mentally competent adults the option of having medical assistance aid in their dying. Currently, it is illegal for a medical practitioner to provide a prescription that a patient might take to end their life; this bill would regulate that practice, with multiple safeguards. House Bill 90 specifically allows for healthcare providers and facilities to opt out of participating in aid-in-dying if they choose.
“No one should be forced to suffer as they die.” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong. “This bill is about choices; choices for patients and choices for healthcare providers. Only patients and healthcare providers who want to participate in aid-in-dying will do so. New Mexicans should have the freedom to choose the end of life options that are right for them.”
The bill, named the Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act, is named in honor of a retired Judge from Albuquerque who urged lawmakers to pass the bill in previous years at the legislature, and who has since lost her long struggle with cancer.
House Bill 90 now heads to the Judiciary Committee for consideration.