The state legislatures of Maine have sent to the state’s Democratic governor a bill which would legalize suicide for people who are terminally ill.
The “Maine Death with Dignity Act” will permit patients who are mentally competent, 18 years old or over to request medication from a medical professional to help them commit suicide.
Governor Janet Mills spokesperson said on June 6, 2019, the Governor has not taken a position on the suicide bill.
The spokeswoman, Lindsay Crete, said the governor has ten days to sign the bill or veto it. If she does not take a position, ultimately, the bill will become a state law after that time.
The Democratic House passed the bill on June 3 with a vote of 73-72. The Senate, also controlled by Democrats, passed the bill on June 4 with a vote of 19-16.
The bill stressed the bill does not make suicide which is medically assisted legal. However, if the bill is followed, it would do so.
The suicide bill will require the patient to make a request for medication is writing, and orally request it two times. The request in writing must be made at a minimum of 15 days after the oral request is made.
The patient also must wait a minimum of two days after they submitted the written request to obtain the suicide medication.
Also, a second opinion by a physician must be made.
The suicide bill defines a “terminal disease” as “an irreversible and incurable disease that has been confirmed by a doctor and will, within the medical judgment of the doctor will produce within 6 months the patient’s death.”
Also, patients whose medical doctor has determined are “Suffering from a psychological or psychiatric disorder or depression which is jading the person’s judgment” will not be able to obtain the suicide medication according to the state’s legislation.
If the bill passes, it will prohibit the insurance companies rates to change because of the patient requesting suicide medication. It would also not permit the patients suicide to be a condition in a contract or will.
The bill would make it a crime to “coerce knowingly or exert an influence which is undue” on a patient who wants to receive suicide medication and make it a crime to forge requests for medication.
If Mills signs the suicide bill, Maine would join the District of Columbia and seven other states that permit aid in committing suicide.
Written by Barbara Sobel
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