Armstrong Disappointed in Senate Vote on End of Life Options Act, But Sees Bill as Start of Movement

Outpouring of Support from Public at Legislature Positive Sign

After the Senate on Wednesday narrowly defeated SB 252, The End of Life Options Act, which Rep. Debbie Armstrong cosponsored with Sen. Liz Stefanics, Armstrong said that she was disappointed in the outcome, but was inspired by the outpouring of support for the bill, which she says is the beginning of a movement.


“In New Mexico, we value family and we value personal choice,” Armstrong said after the 22-20 vote. “Those values were reflected in the moving, deeply personal testimony presented by terminally ill patients and those who have lost loved ones as the End of Life Options Act moved through the legislative process. I am disappointed by the outcome, but I am inspired by outpouring of support for aid in dying. I am confident that New Mexicans will, in the near future, have the ability to make the end-of-life decisions that are right for them and their families.”


SB 252, and its companion bill HB 171, drew overflow crowds that generated hours of emotional testimony during hearings.


The bill would have allowed a physician in New Mexico to write a prescription for medication that a mentally competent, terminally ill patient could use to end their life. The bills were in response to a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling last year that indicated that aid-in-dying would be legal in New Mexico, but that the Legislature would first need to pass a law to that effect.


“A conversation about the end of life can be very difficult,” Armstrong said, “but it is an important conversation for families to have—and it’s an important conversation for our state to have. I’m proud of my colleagues in the Legislature for having an open, honest conversation about this issue. I look forward to working Sen. Stefanics and my house cosponsor, Rep. McCamley, in the future to build on this momentum and to pass the End of Life Options Act.”


About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates

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