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New law proposal in New Mexico

Monday, December 24, 2018

On December 19, 2018, New Mexico State Representative Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) pre-filed HouseBill 90, the Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act. This bill is about medical aid-in-dying and will apply to a terminally ill patient over the age of 18. A doctor will have to determine if the patient has the capacity to make the decision. If a patient has a mental health disorder, a mental health professional will have to sign off. The bill will still make assisted suicide a fourth-degree felony, but only in the case the law is broken.

 

Armstrong plans to introduce the bill in January 2019. New Mexico State Senator Liz Stefanics will co-sponsor HB 90 and has introduced a companion bill in the New Mexico State Senate: SenateBill 153

 

This bill proposal is the follow-up of an earlier proposed housebill (HouseBill 171), which was voted down last March. Armstrong introduced this bill together with Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) on January 20, 2017. This bill was called the End of Life Options Act. The House Health and Human Services Committee passed the bill 4 to 3, along party lines, on February 3. The bill was then referred to the House Judiciary Committee. A companion bill, SenateBill 252, was filed in the Senate on January 30, 2017 by New Mexico State Senators Elizabeth Stefanics (D-Bernalillo) and 4 co-sponsors. On March 3 the bill passed in the Senate Public Affairs Committee 4 to 3. The bill was then narrowly passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in the full Senate on March 15 it was voted down on a 20 to 22 vote.

 

On December 17, the Council of Las Cruces has passed a resolution asking New Mexico State Legislature to support and enact an end of life options act. (See here the video of the council discussion about this resolution.) Albuquerque and Santa Fe have also passed similar resolutions.

 

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