State lawmakers will once again debate whether to pass "Right-to-Die" legislation in Maryland. Del. Shane Pendergrass, of Howard County, and Sen. Ron Young, of Frederick and Washington Counties, introduced new bills in the House and Senate, respectively Thursday.
The bill is similar to last year's "Death with Dignity Act," which never came up for a vote despite months of debate. The intent is the same, to allow very ill people to end their lives on their terms.
More than one hundred supporters of the bill traveled to Annapolis to see it introduced. The "End of Life Options Act" would allow mentally sound, terminally-ill adults, who have less than six months to live, to get a prescription for medication that would allow them to die in their sleep.
Supporters included Kelly Lange, an Annapolis woman with metastatic breast cancer.
"Most recently, my friend Marlene passed away in excruciating pain and it's something that I would like to potentially avoid," she said. "And have a little control at the end over something that I otherwise have no control over."
A 2015 Goucher Poll found that 60 percent of Marylanders support the bill. A number of religious and pro-life groups oppose it, calling it "physician-assisted suicide." If lawmakers pass the bill, Maryland would join five other states, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and California, that authorize this end-of-life option.