Maine will be the ninth jurisdiction in the U.S. to legalize the life-destroying procedure of assisted suicide. That’s because Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, today signed the bill into law.
New Jersey passed a similar law in April. Assisted suicide also is legal in California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Washington D.C.
The bill narrowly passed the Maine legislature with the Senate voting 19-16 on Tuesday and the House voting 73-72 on Monday.
The legislation would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients diagnosed with a terminal illness. It also claims the practice is not suicide, and activists call the measure “death with dignity.”
But a number of medical, disability rights and pro-life groups have major concerns with the legislation.
Matt Valliere, executive director of the Patients Rights Action Fund, said the bill puts disadvantaged Maine residents in grave danger.
“Today, the legislature and Governor Janet Mills failed the people of Maine. Assisted suicide is a dangerous public policy that puts the most vulnerable people in society at risk for abuse, coercion and mistakes. It also provides profit-driven insurance companies perverse incentives to offer a quick death, rather than costly continuing quality care. Mainers, especially the terminally ill, people with disabilities, and the poor, deserve better.”
“Assisted suicide public policy leaves those who already struggle to access health care – the poor, the terminally ill, persons living with disabilities, people of advanced age, and those living in remote areas – at a much higher risk for abuse, coercion and mistakes,” Valliere said in a statement to LifeNews.com. “The so-called safeguards in this bill are hollow and fail to eliminate that risk.”
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Before she signed the legislation, Maine Right to Life also urged people to contact the governor in an email, writing: “Save our vulnerable populations from being denied life-saving treatment in favor of the cheapest medical treatment: assisted suicide! Kill the bill…not the patient. Stand in solidarity for LIFE! We will never stop fighting to defend vulnerable life in Maine.”
State Sen. Scott Cyrway, a Republican who voted against the bill, said assisted suicide ends patients’ hope. He said doctors sometimes are wrong about terminal diagnoses, and several of his relatives have lived for years beyond their life expectancy, according to the report.
“There’s several instances like that where hope is everything,” he said. “If we go and take this hope away, that’s what we’re doing when we push this button.”
However, state Sen. Marianne Moore, a Republican who supported the bill, said the measure gives people the “right to choose” near the end of their life.
Pro-life leaders say assisted suicide devalues certain groups of human beings, and pushes medically vulnerable people into an early death.
Action: Contact Gov. Janet Mills.