On January 31, 2018 to the surprise and delight of many, an Alaska House Health Committee approved 5-2 a measure to enact MAID in Alaska, HB 54.
While several other states have seen the wisdom of allowing terminally ill individuals to request medication from their physicians which would mercifully end futile suffering at a time and place of their choosing, few typically GOP-leaning states have advanced the cause. Alaska may be the first one, if the bill survives a full vote of the House and Senate and signature by Governor Bill Walker, currently registered as an Independent. (The last time Alaska voted Republican in a Presidential race was in 1964 for Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater.
While Montana, also a Red State, allows MAID, it was due to a decision by the Montana Supreme Court, and not through legislative enactment. Colorado, a purple state, approved MAID through voter referendum. The other states where MAID is authorized, OR, CA, WA, VT and DC, are reliably blue.
MAID is an issue which by its very nature transcends partisanship, as cancer, stroke and other terminal diseases are color-blind. But the perception is that MAID is somehow a “liberal” concept, as it upsets medical orthodoxy. The truth is that many Republicans who situate themselves on the libertarian spectrum of GOP politics are favorably inclined.
Success in Alaska would go a long way to dispelling the unfortunate assumption that only in Democratic-leaning states, can MAID legislation pass.
This is the essence of Dying Right NC’s mission– to work with both Republicans and Democrats in Raleigh to make NC the first Southern, Bible-Belt state to pass the legislation.
Ed Tiryakian, J.D., MBA, founded Dying Right NC in 2015 and is its Executive Director. He previously worked in international banking in Asia before retiring to his native NC.He believes End of Life issues are one of society’s most pressing challenges as we all live longer and the medicalization of the dying process continues to conflict with the individual’s right to choose his or her end.