Maine legalizes assisted suicide
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 6/13/19, 12:08 pm
Maine became the eighth state in the nation to legalize assisted suicide Wednesday after Gov. Janet Mills signed a law allowing doctors to prescribe fatal doses of medication to the terminally ill. Mills had previously said she was unsure about the bill, which declares the practice does not constitute suicide under state law. She also issued an executive order for the state to analyze how the law’s impact on the state. “It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right to personal liberty, will be used sparingly,” said Mills, a Democrat.
Previous versions of the bill failed in the state legislature at least seven times, and critics of the so-called “Death with Dignity Act” said legalization could lead to incentivization—an effect that could be magnified in the state with the oldest median age in the country. “Assisted suicide could now be categorized as a new form of ‘medical treatment’ offered terminal patients by doctors and insurers in Maine, rather than a more compassionate, expensive medical treatment,” the Maine Right to Life Committee noted in a statement, adding, “‘Choice’ at the end of life could become an illusion to all but the privileged few.”
At least 18 other states have considered similar measures this year.
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Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.