December 07, 2019
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Maine House votes against physician-assisted suicide

Troy R. Bennett | BDN file
Troy R. Bennett | BDN file
Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Another attempt to allow physician-assisted suicide in Maine ended Tuesday with an 85-61 vote against it in the House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, would have legalized an extended process through which a terminally ill patient who has the mental capacity to do so could end his or her life with the assistance of a doctor.

LD 347 includes a more than two-week process in which patients must affirm and re-affirm their wishes and addresses issues ranging from palliative care to life insurance issues. Similar concepts have been defeated twice in the Legislature in the past four years as well as at the ballot box by Maine voters in 2000.

Opponents worried that the bill would lead to abuse of sick and elderly people and could increase overall suicide rates by normalizing the concept throughout society. Some raised religious and moral objections.

“There is no life on Earth without pain and suffering,” said Rep. Roger Reed, R-Carmel. “Life is a gift from God regardless of its circumstances.”

Tuesday’s vote puts the House in disagreement with the Senate, which voted 16-15 last week in favor, though Gov. Paul LePage’s threat of a veto meant the bill was doomed anyway.


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