Amy Kochert is a second-year student at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. During the spring 2019 semester, she worked with Ohio End of Life Options to develop a white paper examining the procedural steps and conditions that led to the passage of medical aid in dying (MAID) legislation in the United States. The inquiry tracks MAID legislation and policy through the process of ballot initiatives, state legislatures, and courts in both states that passed MAID legislation and states in which MAID legislation failed to pass. It examines successful strategies for promoting the legislation and defending attacks against it.
Ohio End of Life Options is pleased to have provided Amy with a group of advisors led by Ann Rowland, retired Assistant U.S. Attorney, and including Ruth Anna Carlson, Former Adjunct Law Professor at CWRU School of Law and retired partner at Ulmer & Berne LLP, and Linda Mittleman, Adjunct Professor at CWRU School of Law.
In her paper, Amy cited Ohioans’ support for Medical Aid in Dying (“MAID”) legislation with the survey results from May 2018 of 645 Ohio voters across all major religious groups. Over 69% of those surveyed strongly or somewhat supported MAID legislation, 28% strongly or somewhat opposed, and 3% were undecided.
Amy concluded by stating that, “Medical Aid in Dying (“MAID”) “legislation has been gaining traction and support throughout the past decade. The federal courts have ruled that. . . . [the] states may make their own choice as to the legality of allowing mentally competent adults with a terminal illness . . . to request a lethal dose of drugs as an end-of-life option. While there are concerns by opposition groups about vulnerable populations being exploited by MAID, reported data show no evidence of that.
[O]nce a state passes MAID legislation, . . . courts have upheld it. Standing is a hurdle for opponents of MAID who seek to challenge the legislation, and will likely be developed more clearly by the courts as MAID is passed in more and more states. All legal challenges to MAID legislation have failed.