Baltimore Sun

Ferguson has failed the desperatel­y ill


The recent letter, “Ferguson leads the charge on wind power” (March 21), congratula­tes Senate President Bill Ferguson for behaving just as we all hoped he would. He did, however, drop the ball on Senate Bill 845, which affects every resident and family in Maryland. The “End—of—Life Option Act” would allow medical aid to a terminal patient so they can peacefully and painlessly, by personal choice, end their own life.

There are strict parameters in this legislatio­n. There must be a diagnosis by at least two doctors. It must involve someone who is likely to die within six months. It applies to adult Marylander­s only and requires asking the patient at least three times (both verbally and in writing). That person must also posses a sound mind. Any physician, nurse, pharmacist or medical center need not participat­e.

This kind of aid in dying is legal in 10 states and District of Columbia making it available to 20% of Americans — but not Marylander­s. A recent Gonzales poll of registered Maryland voters showed 71% support this medical option. For whatever reason, and contrary to past promises, President Ferguson chose to not bring the bill to the floor. Many of us have been working on this bill actively since 2015, and mentally since 1997 when it became law in Oregon where it has been working successful­ly and without any drama for 26 years!

Anyone who supports choice and personal bodily autonomy should certainly respect the dying wish of desperatel­y ill people. President Ferguson, you have that power in your hands. It is not too late to be a mensch!

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