Christian Medical & Dental Associations celebrates New Mexico victory to protect healthcare professionals’ conscience objections against assisted suicide
April 13, 2023
Bristol, Tenn.—April 13, 2023—Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), the nation’s largest faith-based professional healthcare association, is celebrating the recent victory in its lawsuit against the state of New Mexico that will allow healthcare professionals to decline participation in assisted suicide due to their conscience objections.
On April 4, 2023, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law New Mexico Senate Bill 471 Refusal End-of-Life Options Act, which clarifies that healthcare professionals are “able to refuse to participate in medical-aid-in dying for reasons of conscience.” The legislature unanimously passed the bill in direct response to the issues raised in CMDA’s lawsuit, Lacy v. Torrez, brought by Alliance Defending Freedom and filed in December 2022. (As a result of New Mexico SB 471 being signed into law, Alliance Defending Freedom filed to dismiss as the law now satisfies the initial complaint.)
“We are extremely pleased that the New Mexico Legislature and Governor Lujan Grisham saw the urgent need and importance to pass and enact this law in direct response to our lawsuit,” said CMDA Senior Vice President of Bioethics and Public Policy Dr. Jeff Barrows. “We are grateful that healthcare professionals who hold conscientious objections to participating in, referring for or informing patients about assisted suicide are now protected from being complicit with this abhorrent practice that is directly contradictory to a healthcare professional’s role.”
In 2021, New Mexico enacted the Elizabeth Whitfield End-of-Life Options Act. Prior to the passage of New Mexico SB 471, healthcare professionals would have been required to inform their patients about assisted suicide and refer them to participating physicians and organizations—regardless of their conscientious objections. They would also be at risk of losing their medical license for not complying. Dr. Mark Lacy, a CMDA member in New Mexico, joined the lawsuit and his courage is appreciated.