We all hope that when the time comes for us to die, our passing is quick and painless. But certain illnesses make a peaceful, dignified death all but impossible. Aid in dying is an option that gives terminally ill people some measure of comfort and control at the end of life. With aid in dying, a mentally competent, terminally ill patient can ask their doctor to proscribe them a life-ending medication that the patient can self-administer if or when their suffering becomes unbearable. This compassionate, medically established practice is already legal in several states and New Mexicans overwhelmingly support having access to aid in dying in our state as well.
In 2012, the ACLU of New Mexico filed a lawsuit on behalf of two cancer doctors and a cancer patient, asking the court to recognize that New Mexico's law prohibiting "assisting suicide" does not apply to the medical practice of aid in dying. Despite a resounding victory at the district court level, the New Mexico State Supreme Court ultimately ruled in 2016 that the practice is not currently permitted under current New Mexico law.
The ACLU of New Mexico is now working with a broad coalition of concerned citizens, advocacy groups, and elected officials to introduce legislation affirmatively permitting aid in dying so that terminally ill New Mexicans will not be forced to suffer if their dying process becomes unbearable.