Death with dignity legislation succeeded in three legislative committees this year; two House and one Senate committee passed the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act. However, the bill did not come up for a vote in either legislative chamber.
We are proud to support advocates on the ground who are already laying the groundwork for the next session.
On December 19, 2018, New Mexico State Representative Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) pre-filed HB 90, Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act. Soon after, New Mexico State Senator Liz Stefanics (D-Bernalillo) introduced an identical companion bill, SB 153, in the New Mexico State Senate.
HB 90 was assigned to the House Health and Human Services Committee (HHHSC) and the Judiciary Committee (HJC):
- A House Health and Human Services Committee hearing on HB 90 took place on January 28, 2019; members voted 4 to 3 to advance an amended version of the bill.
- The hearing at the House Judiciary Committee took on February 8, 2019, with no vote. The Committee passed an amended (“substitute”) version of the bill on February 14 on a 9 to 3 vote.
The Senate Public Affairs Committee heard SB 153 (now identical to HB 90 Substitute) on February 26, 2019 and passed it 4 to 3, moving it to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Send a letter to your New Mexico State Representative and Senator to urge their support for aid in dying legislation
The Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act did not advance in the 2019 legislative session. The bill would have allowed a terminally ill, mentally capable adult resident of New Mexico the option to request, obtain and take medication—should they choose—to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Write your New Mexico State Representative and Senator to urge their support for death with dignity legislation in the next session!
- Full text of HB 90 / identical SB 153 (2019)
- HHHSC Amendments to HB 90
- HJC Substitute of HB 90
- Legislative history of HB 90
- Video recording of the 1/28/2019 HHS hearing
- Video recording of the 2/8/2019 HJC hearing (TS 5:03:50)
Since 2018, we have been supporting the efforts of the New Mexico End of Life Options Coalition to advocate and campaign for the End of Life Options Act.
Albuquerque, Las Cruces, and Santa Fe city councils have approved resolutions supporting aid-in-dying legislation.
The following organizations have endorsed the bill (or aid-in-dying legislation in general):
- ACLU of New Mexico
- Equality New Mexico
- Health Action New Mexico
- National Association of Social Workers
- NAACP Albuquerque
- New Mexico Public Health Association
- Nuestra Salud New Mexico
- Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico
- Greater Albuquerque Medical Association (November 2018)
- New Mexico Association for Home & Hospice Care (November 2018)
- New Mexico Medical Society (January 2019)
New Mexico State Representatives Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Bill McCamley (D-Las Cruces) introduced HB 171, End of Life Options Act, a medical aid-in-dying bill, on January 20, 2017. 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, SB 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 January 13, 2014, New Mexico Second Judicial District Judge Nan Nash ruled that physician-assisted dying is a right under the state Constitution, in the case Morris v. Brandenburg. An appeals court overturned this ruling on August 11, 2015.
An appeal was filed to the appeals court ruling in the New Mexico Supreme Court. Oral arguments took place on October 26, 2015, and the State Supreme Court decided the challenge on June 30, 2016. The Court overruled a district court ruling that in 2014 proclaimed physician-assisted dying in the state a right, saying the matter should be resolved in the executive and legislative branches.
In the New Mexico state legislature, death with dignity bills were considered in 1995 (SB 446) and 2009 (HB 814).