RadioOnFire.com - On Tuesday morning in Annapolis, the Senate began debating the End of Life Option Act, a bill which would allow patients with less than six months to live to obtain life-ending medication The bill has changed since it was approved in the House. The changes were decried by supporters, who worry they would make the bill practically unworkable. Anne Arundel County Republican Ed Reilly tried unsuccessfully to send the bill back to the Senate Judicial Proceedings committee, which approved it last week. Harford County Republican Sen. Bob Cassilly says the issue needs further debate.
"We put a lot of time that has been forced upon us, by a bunch of people out of Oregon who have been pushing a political agenda that says there are too many people, we've got to reduce health care costs," Cassilly said on the floor. "This has nothing to do with pain. It has everything to do with health care costs. It has everything to do with pushing people into death."
Oregon was the first state to pass this type of legislation. Similar laws are in place in Colorado, Hawaii, California, Washington state and Vermont. In Montana, a 2009 court ruling found no case law or statute barring assisted suicide.
Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chairman Bobby Zirkin told his colleagues the committee passed numerous amendments to protect patients, and to lift immunity that is granted to doctors and others involved in the process.
"I was a no vote on this bill, now I am a yes," Zirkin told his colleagues.
Some advocates for the bill say the Senate amendments are too restrictive, but Frederick County Democrat Ron Young, who sponsored this bill when it was first introduced in 2015, says the bill is an acceptable compromise.