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 Author: AdrienneDare
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:12 am 
It has been two weeks since the New Mexico Supreme Court on October 26, 2015 heard the case Morris v NM after the appellate court overruled the Jan 13, 2014 decision which claimed that Aid in Dying is a fundamental right for New Mexico citizens.

The Morris v NM case filed in March 2012 was asking the court to declare that physicians who provide a prescription for medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill adult, which the patient could self-administer to bring about a peaceful death, would not be subject to criminal prosecution under existing New Mexico law. This is the medical practice of Aid in Dying (AID).

The Morris v NM trial was heard in New Mexico’s Second District Court on December 11-12, 2013. On January 13, 2014 Judge Nan Nash made a landmark ruling “This court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying”. She said that the New Mexico Constitution prohibits the state from depriving a person of life, liberty or property without due process. This ruling protected the medical practice from prosecution in Bernalillo County, NM.

In March 2014 Attorney General Gary King filed an appeal but not a stay. Therefore Aid in Dying was legal in Bernalillo County.

The Appeal hearing was held on January 26, 2015. The result of that hearing came on August 11, 2015 overturning the January Decision of Judge Nan Nash by a vote of 2:1. Therefore, Aid in Dying was no longer legal in Bernalillo County. ACLU-NM and the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) asked the New Mexico Supreme Court to review the Morris v NM case. On August 31 the NM Supreme Court agreed to hear the Aid in Dying case which was scheduled for Oct. 26.

On Monday, October 26, 2015 at 9:00 am spectators packed the Santa Fe courtroom where 5 New Mexico Supreme Court Justices questioned Attorney Laura Ives, representing ACLU-NM, and Attorney Scott Fuqua, representing the Attorney General’s Office, to decide if New Mexico will join 5 other states that allow the medical practice of Aid in Dying.

Laura Ives argued that Aid in Dying is a constitutional right and doctors should be free to prescribe drugs to terminally ill adults to end their life if life becomes unbearable. This is not a practice that would harm any state interests.

Justice Charles Daniels asked whether the concept of a constitutional right to Aid in Dying existed when the states constitution was created in 1912. Ives said the constitution was written in a way that would have allowed aid in dying, even though the practice wasn’t around at that time. She also added that the idea of helping a terminally ill patient to humanely end their life was a foreign concept when the state passed the anti-assisted suicide Statute in the early 1960’s.

Scott Fuqua says the state has no interest in keeping alive a competent terminally ill adult who is suffering. But, the decision demands legislative attention, not judicial.

The 5 states now legalizing Aid in Dying are Oregon, Washington, Montana Vermont and California. In Montana the decision legalizing Aid in Dying was made by the Supreme Court of Montana.

It could take the 5 member panel weeks to issue a ruling.

Note: AID has been practiced in Oregon since 1998 with 17+ years of good data showing no abuse. In fact, a consequence of the passage of the Death with Dignity Act has been better end of life care in Oregon than in other states. Of those who get the prescription from their physician over 1/3 do not take the medication but die naturally. Knowing they have a choice is very comforting. Aid in Dying is rarely used!!! (0.2% - 0.3% of all deaths in Oregon have been attributed to AID- that is 2 or3 out of 1000 total deaths.) But Aid in Dying brings a peace of mind for those who do choose this option.


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 Author: AdrienneDare
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:26 am 
New Mexico Supreme Court rules against Physician Aid in Dying.

After over 4 long years of supporting this case for medical aid in dying in New Mexico this news is very disappointing.

In March 2012 two Albuquerque physicians, later joined by a patient plaintiff, filed a case asking the court to declare that physicians who provide a prescription for medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill adult, which the patient could self-administer to bring about a peaceful death, would not be subject to criminal prosecution under existing New Mexico law. A 2 day trial was held in the 2nd district court of Bernalillo County in December 2013. On January 13, 2014 Judge Nan Nash ruled in favor saying “This Court cannot envision a right more fundamental, more private or more integral to the liberty, safety and happiness of a New Mexican than the right of a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying. …”

However, the then Attorney General, Gary King, appealed the case. The appeal hearing was finally heard on January 26, 2015 and on August 11, 2015 the applet court overturned the January 13 trial results. Immediately ACLU-NM approached the New Mexico Supreme Court to hear this case. On October 26, 2015 the NM Supreme Court reviewed the case. On June 30, 2016 the Court ruled that terminally ill New Mexicans do not have a constitutionally protected right to enlist a doctor’s help to end their lives.

Those who support medical aid in dying are very disappointed but the work toward giving New Mexicans this choice will continue. The next approach is a legislative approach. Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces has said he has formed a working group to look at legislation to allow the practice of medical aid in dying and expects to have a bill ready for the January 2017 60-day session.

A Task Force is being formed under the leadership of Dean Donna Wagner, Dean of New Mexico State University College of Health & Social Services, to study this issue and how aid in dying can be implemented. Rep Bill McCamley is one of these team members. This task force plans to give a presentation to the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee in the Fall. However, this task force will be participating in a preliminary presentation to the LHHS committee on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 1:00 pm on the topic “Aid in Dying Decision”. Bill McCamley along with 4 other supporters and Allen Sanchez, Executive Director, New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops are on the agenda.

Some of you know that I have a very personal reason for being passionate about this issue. In 2002 my 90 year old mother with terminal cancer was able to take advantage of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act since she lived in Oregon. It was a profound and positive experience. I certainly didn’t want to lose my mother but it was what she wanted and best of all she was no longer in pain.

In the last 4 years being involved with the issue again I have seen changes in attitudes as more personal stories come out. See just a few examples below.

Harris Poll, Nov. 2014 - 74% of Americans polled after 29 year old Brittany Maynard who had terminal brain cancer moved from California to Oregon and utilized Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act agreed that: “Individuals who are terminally ill, in great pain and who have no chance for recovery have the right to choose to end their own life.”

Gallup’s values and Beliefs Survey, May 2015 – 68% of Americans agreed that “individuals who are terminally ill, in great pain and who have no chance for recovery have the right to choose to end their own life.”
Gallup noted that support “has risen nearly 20 points in the last two years and stands at the highest level in more than a decade,” and support among young adults aged 18-34 “climbed 19 points this year, to 81%.”

Medscape Poll, December 2014 – An online survey of 17,000 US doctors representing 28 medical specialties support aid in dying by a 23% margin (54% vs. 31%).


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 Author: bdlb
PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:37 pm 
https://www.deathwithdignity.org/states/new-mexico/
Some progress in the legislature


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 Author: AdrienneDare
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:27 pm 
Yes, there is progress on a bill in New Mexico to allow medical aid in dying!!
A brief review: The Morris v New Mexico case was filed in March 2012, almost 5 years ago. The case was asking the court to declare that physicians who provide a prescription for medication to a mentally competent terminally ill adult which the patient could consume to bring about a peaceful death, would not be subject to criminal prosecution under existing New Mexico law.

On Jan 13, 2014 the result of the December 2013 trial was that medical Aid in Dying was legal in New Mexico. However there was an appeal that overturned the Trial results. The next step was to take the issue to the New Mexico Supreme court on Oct 26, 2015. The result came on June 30, 2016 when the Supreme Court overruled the Jan 13, 2014 trial results saying that the issue should be decided legislatively and not judicially. Immediately a group of people concentrated on forming a bill to submit in the 2017 legislative session.

Both the House and the Senate have identical bills. On Jan 20, 2017 HB171 the End of Life Options Act was submitted. On Jan 30 SB252 the End of Life Options Act was submitted. The first hearing of HB171 was held on Friday, Feb 3. I was unable to be in Santa Fe but fortunately I was able to see and hear the live webcast. It was a 3 hour exciting hearing with the House Health and Human Services Committee. Fortunately the committee voted 4 to 3 along party lines to approve the bill. The next hearing will be with the House Judiciary committee.

There was an article about the hearing published on Feb 3rd in The New Mexican which also appeared in the Silver City Daily press on Page 8 on Feb. 4.
Here is a link to the Feb 3rd The New Mexican in case you didn’t see the Daily Press.
http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/h ... 159d1.html


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 Author: AdrienneDare
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:29 pm 
A handful of Senate Democrats help Republicans defeat a New Mexico aid-in-dying bill.

Five years ago in March 2012 I became involved with the Morris v NM (Morris v Brandenburg) case which was asking the court to declare that physicians who provide a prescription for medication to a mentally competent, terminally ill patient, which the patient could consume to bring about a peaceful death, would not be subject to criminal prosecution under existing New Mexico law. Since then I have been updating you about the progress from a successful trial, to an appeal overturning the trial results, to a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling denying Medical Aid in Dying but declaring that this issue should be handled in legislation, to legislation brought forward in this legislation session which ended on Saturday March 18.

The End of Life Options Act bill was introduced in the House (HB171) and the Senate (SB252). I was unable to get to Santa Fe to attend the hearings but was able to observe via video on the nmlegis.gov site two hearings each in the House and Senate and then the final Senate Floor meeting where voting took place on March 15, 2017 (5 years after the case was 1st submitted).

Unfortunately the bill failed by a vote of 22 to 20. Even if the bill had passed the thought was that our Governor would veto the bill. Surprising to me, 7 Democrats voted against it, and one Republican voted for it. During the previous committee hearings there were many emotional testimonials for and against the bill. The committee members made some suggestions for changing some aspects of the bill by adding more protections. Therefore the bill voted on was adjusted from the original bill. In the final Senate Floor meeting there were about 10 senators giving comments before the voting.

I was surprised at the negative comments that hadn’t appeared in the previous hearings. Of those 10 senators 6 were against and 4 in favor. Of those against the bill 3 were mainly based on religion. (I hadn’t seen this kind of blatant attack in the previous hearings). Another senator brought up the idea that people would “kill grandma” because they didn’t want to deal with her and they wanted her money. We have almost 20 years of good data from Oregon and there has been no slippery slope.

Gerald Ortiz Y Pino made the comment that the testimonials in the hearing he attended were very powerful and convinced him to vote yes. In these last 5 years more and more people support Medical Aid in Dying. I have seen cases where a person is not in favor of this choice until they experience the painful death of a friend or family member.

I firmly believe that this bill will eventually pass in New Mexico. One comment made on the Senate floor was that now 1 in 5 Americans now live where they have access to this choice. Medical Aid in Dying is now legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington DC. In Hawaii this choice has now been supported by the Senate.

Hopefully we can increase the education of our population so that the next time the bill will pass.


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 Author: karen
PostPosted: Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:00 pm 
Thank you, Adrienne, for your diligence and persistence in this matter. I agree that an Aid in Dying bill will eventually pass the legislature, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Karen


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 Author: alan wagman
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:22 am 
If anybody has not read IndivisibleGuide.com, I suggest you do. The main point is that driven home by Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino. The Guide notes that elected officials respond to both praise and criticism directed explicitly at them as individuals. Gerald Ortiz y Pino said that his vote on Aid in Dying was because of messages he received.

Those who voted in favor need to be thanked. And those who voted against need to be told what for. It is too late for any influence this session, but maybe not too late for the 2019 session (the bill is VERY unlikely to come up next year). The most helpful reporting on this and any bill -- if anyone has it -- is not just that seven Democrats voted against and one Republican voted for, but specifics about who voted how. And then a response from the constituents.

AW


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 Author: bdlb
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:47 am 
The sponsors of this bill were Bill McCamley & Deborah Armstrong.
Their email addresses are deborah.armstrong@nmlegis.gov
and billmccamley14@gmail.com
Easy to send a note thanking them and urging continued pursuit of this initiative.


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 Author: AdrienneDare
PostPosted: Mon Mar 20, 2017 1:56 pm 
Thanks for reminding us to thank the people supporting the End of Life Options Act.

But, remember that initially there were 2 identical bills one in the House (HB171) and one in the Senate (SB151). Yes Deborah Armstrong and Bill McCamley were sponsors of the House Bill. But Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics was also listed as a sponsor of the House bill. Her email is liz.stefanics@nmlegis.gov.

And there is more! Liz was listed as sponsor of the Senate Bill along with Deborah Armstrong. In fact she presided at the hearings for the Senate Public Affairs Committee and the Senate Judicial Committee as well as on the Senate floor for the final vote. All three of these people deserve thank yous.

All three are very passionate about this issue. About 20 years ago Liz Stefanics introduce a bill on the end of life issue. Deborah has worked in the health care field for 40 years regarding children and geriatrics and has worked in Hospice. Bill McCamley became very interested in this topic after seeing his father's dying a couple of years ago. He also said his family was comforted because his father had completed his advance directive.


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