New Mexico END-OF-LIFE OPTIONS ACT Signed into Law

(, April 9, 2021)

Map of USA highlighting New Mexico
“The Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act will go into effect on June 18, 2021, ninety days after the end of the 2021 Legislative session.

It has taken more than a quarter of a century to pass medical aid in dying legislation in New Mexico. From 1995, when Senator Liz Stefanics introduced the state’s first medical aid in dying bill in its history, to the passage of HB 47 last month, it’s been a long time coming.

The Governors’ signature signifies the end of our legislative journey and the beginning of the hard work of implementation. Our Coalition has already started to roll up our sleeves and begin the next phase of service to help ensure that all New Mexicans have the kind of death they seek…whatever that might be.”

The new law is named after Elizabeth Whitefield, a New Mexico judge who died of cancer in 2018 after years of lobbying for the passage of an aid in dying law. Rep. Debbie Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, the main sponsor of the bill, said Whitefield would have been ‘greatly relieved, satisfied, happy’ to know her effort finally met success. Armstrong’s daughter Erin, who is in her 40s, spoke in favor of the bill before a legislative committee earlier this year. She told the lawmakers she has been fighting a 20-year battle with cancer. While she ‘desperately’ wants to keep living, she said, she is aware she likely will not survive the disease. Armstrong said her daughter now has a ‘great relief that she doesn’t have to worry about being in agony when the time comes.’

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