For the third time, lawmakers propose end-of-life options bill | KOB 4

For the third time, lawmakers propose end-of-life options bill

Kai Porter
Updated: January 09, 2021 10:31 PM
Created: January 09, 2021 05:30 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the third time in a row, lawmakers will consider passing the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act during the upcoming legislative session. 

The bill is named after a former Albuquerque family court judge who died from breast cancer at age 71 in 2018. Whitefield was also an advocate for end-of-life options for terminally ill patients. 

State Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) is once again carrying the bill, which failed twice before in 2017 and 2019. 

"I just think it's the compassionate thing to do, to allow people to end their days in dignity and in control as much as they can with what life they have left,” Rep. Armstrong said.

In a previous interview, Rep. Armstrong said only doctors would be able to prescribe life-ending medication to patients with less than six months to live. Patients also must have the mental capacity to make the decision to receive such care, and be able to take the medication themselves. 

"It's not, in my opinion, suicide. It's not assisted suicide. It's not done in isolation and desperation. It's done surrounded by your family, your friends, loved ones—and when suffering becomes too much and you are going to die, and you're terminally ill, and the end is near, and you're suffering. So for me it's not a life or death decision, but a how you die decision,” she said.

The 2021 legislative session begins Jan. 19. Most of it will be held virtually due to the pandemic. 

KOB 4 reached out to Rep. Armstrong to ask if she thinks her bill will have a better chance of passing this time around, but she did not respond.

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