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Citizen Lobby Day for Aid-in-Dying Legislation in Annapolis, Organized by Compassion & Choices

Annapolis, MD — Compassion & Choices brought one hundred death-with-dignity supporters to Annapolis to meet with their representatives and ask them to vote for The Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death With Dignity Act, which was recently introduced in the state senate by Sen. Ron Young and in the state house by Del. Shane Pendergrass. These two lawmakers make their first joint appearance today at a press conference about the bill, joined by other Marylanders who support the legislation.

The Senate and House bills currently have 45 sponsors combined. A new Goucher University Poll shows 60 percent of Marylanders support the legislation.

“Maryland’s grassroots is giving this legislation amazing momentum,” says Brandi Alexander, Compassion & Choices Regional Campaign and Outreach Manager for Maryland. “The demand for end-of-life options is why I am spending so much time here, working with our volunteers to make death with dignity a reality.”

The Richard E. Israel and Roger “Pip” Moyer Death With Dignity Act is modeled on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which was implemented in 1998. It would allow a terminally ill adult who is mentally competent to request and obtain a prescription that can be self-administered to bring about a peaceful and humane death should suffering become unbearable. It is a patient-directed medical practice called aid in dying, an end-of-life option in addition to hospice and palliative care. The law has worked for 17 years without any cases of abuse, misuse or coercion in Oregon. A similar law has been in effect in Washington State since 2009 and in Vermont since 2013.

The lobby day takes place in advance of two scheduled hearings for the legislation: March 6, at 1:00 p.m., HB1021 Judiciary & Health and Government Affairs Committees in the House of Delegates; March 10 at 1:00 PM, SB 676 Judicial Proceedings Committee in the Senate. Maryland is one of 27 states including the District of Columbia considering death-with-dignity legislation in 2015.