Legislature considers authorization of life-ending medication

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The Legislature is beginning public deliberations on a new bill that would legalize medically assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.

A New Mexico House panel for health policies was scheduled Monday to hear the proposal from Democratic Rep. Deborah Armstrong of Albuquerque and Sen. Liz Stefanics of Santa Fe sets out protocols for the prescription of life-ending drugs.

The New Mexico Republican Party and local Roman Catholic church are opposed to the initiative. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham supports it.

Similar legislation has been enacted in six states since 1998 and Washington, D.C. In addition, Montana’s judiciary says doctors can use a patient’s request for life-ending medication as a defense against any criminal charges.

The New Mexico bill would require authorization from two medical providers to obtain life-ending drugs.