Maryland legislators debate End-of-Life Option Act; concerns rise while on Senate floor

    (Photo: ABC7)

    Mary Klein died in August 2018 after a four-year battle with ovarian cancer. She passed at home after becoming the first person to take end-of-life drugs under D.C.'s two-year old Death with Dignity Act.

    Her wife and partner of 37 years says she was surrounded by friends, they shared memories and then, she took the pills.

    "And my last memory of her was smiling and she fell into a very deep sleep and a couple of hours later, she stopped breathing. Not many people can say they had a joyous death she did," End of Life Options advocate Stella Klein said.

    Klein, in Annapolis, is fighting to make the peaceful end Mary Klein had the right to choose in DC for in Maryland, as well -- for people like Marcy Rubin.

    "I don't want to have to fight anymore when it's my time," Rubin said.

    Rubin has Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. After a recent setback, she fears the end is coming faster than she thought. She doesn't want to be put on morphine or enter hospice care.

    "I want to be able to choose my own destiny and I want to do it the way I want to do it: in my home with my family and my friends and my dog," Rubin said.

    Last week, the women celebrated when for the first time the Maryland House of Delegates passed the End-of-Life Option Act, permitting physicians to prescribe life ending drugs for terminally ill patients. Now, the bill goes to the Senate where because of concerns about possible abuse and religious issues, it seems unlikely to pass.

    They're hoping their stories are heard.

    "It is giving us who have fought for years and years the most peaceful option with the less suffering," Rubin said.

    Gov. Larry Hogan, a cancer survivor, has said he will look at the bill carefully if it makes it to his desk. He says he understands both sides of the issue.

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