Friday, March 1, 2024

Maryland: Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia Bill Dead for the Year

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by Sapna Bansil, Capital News Service  

Lawmakers have tabled a fiercely debated bill that would have granted terminally ill Maryland residents the right to end their lives, a setback to supporters who hoped it would finally pass this year.

Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, said in a press conference Friday that the measure had not won enough support among the 11 members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to move forward this term. Ferguson indicated he was unwilling to bring the bill for a vote if it was likely to fail.

“For this year, it’s certainly over,” said Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair Will Smith, D-Montgomery, noting the bill would have fallen one or two votes shy of passing his committee.

Although Democratic leaders – from Gov. Wes Moore to Ferguson and Smith – all previously expressed support for the bill, they said there would be no last-ditch efforts to change lawmakers’ minds on an issue that is deeply sensitive for both supporters and opponents.

“I told every member of this committee that on issues like this, it’s a vote of conscience,” Smith said. “It’s so personal. It’s such a tough issue … In order to come to me and say, ‘Hey, look, I’m expressing unreadiness, I cannot vote for this bill,’ I would honor that.” ...

Angelique Gingras, Capital News Service, contributed reporting for this story.