Faced with a terminal diagnosis, when all options for treatment have been exhausted, New Mexicans deserve the full range of medically appropriate options for care at the end of life.
The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act would authorize medical aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults with less than six months to live. The law would give eligible patients the option to request a prescription for medication they can take to shorten a difficult, painful dying process.
The Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act was introduced on Dec. 12, 2018, and sponsored by Representative Deborah A. Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics (D-Bernalillo). The bill was passed by the House House Health & Human Services Committee, House Judiciary Committee and Senate Public Affairs Committee, but was not heard by the full House and Senate.
Compassion & Choices worked to help establish the New Mexico End of Life Options Coalition in 2016. Coalition partners identified bill sponsors: In 2017 Representatives Armstrong and Bill McCamley carried HB 171 and Senator Stefanics carried SB 252, respectively. Despite the monumental efforts of nearly 6,000 Compassion & Choices supporters and citizen advocates from across the state, the 2017 New Mexico End of Life Options Act was narrowly defeated on the Senate floor by a 22-20 vote.
The End of Life Options Coalition continues outreach and education, secure meetings with influencers, obtain endorsements, and garner support throughout New Mexico. On May 7, 2018, our efforts were instrumental in the Albuquerque City Council unanimously passing a nonpartisan resolution in support of medical aid in dying. See the press release here. On September 12, 2018, the Santa Fe City Council also passed a similar resolution. Read more here. On December 17, 2018, the Las Cruces City Council unanimously passed a similar resolution. Read more here.
As a volunteer with Compassion & Choices, you’ll join thousands of dedicated supporters who want to transform the woefully inadequate medical systems in this country and give people the options they want and deserve to chart their own end-of-life journey. Compassion & Choices is dedicated to improving care and expanding options for the end of life. Volunteers work diligently to build grassroots support for end-of-life autonomy. To join our efforts to pass a law in the Land of Enchantment, click here.