AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine House of Representatives has rejected a bill that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide in the state.
“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.”
LD 347, introduced by Sen. Robert Katz, R-Augusta, allowed those diagnosed with a terminal illness to request that their doctor write a prescription that would “hasten [their] death.”
The bill required physicians to inform the patient of all of their options, including the provision of palliative care, hospice care and pain control. He or she would also be mandated to include in the patient’s record that the information had been provided orally and in writing, as well as a notation that the person could live longer than estimated.
“With regard to a patient who is a resident or inpatient in a healthcare facility, the facility may adopt a policy that prohibits a health care provider from issuing a prescription to the patient for medication or providing medication that the health care provider knows the patient intends to self-administer in a lethal dose while in the health care facility,” the bill also read.
While Gov. Paul LePage had already vowed to veto the legislation should it make it to his desk, lawmakers proceeded to bring the matter up for a vote anyway.
“I think this proposal has been thoughtfully crafted and allows the peace of mind that we can have control over our own life,” said Rep. Christopher Babbidge, D-Kennebunk. “Just as you and I have control today, we don’t surrender it at the end of life. It’s about freedom.”
But Rep. Chad Wayne Grignon, R-Athens, who himself has been diagnosed with cancer, said that giving people the option to end their lives can negatively affect their will to fight and live.
“Ten years ago, most cancers, including the one I now have, was a death sentence,” he stated, according to the Portland Press Herald. “Today, with technology, those [prospects] are changing. We come into this world in pain, screaming and fighting for air. I believe this is part of the natural order. I plan on leaving without a government-sanctioned option of leaving early.”
The bill was voted down 85-61.
As previously reported, in Hawaii, Democratic Sen. Breene Harimoto shared a similar story of how it would have been too tempting to end it all in the midst of his own devastating cancer diagnosis, but faith and hope carried him through. His cancer is now in remission.
“Thinking back on this experience, I wonder what anyone who is given six months or less to live would do with those death pills,” Harimoto said. “It would be too easy and tempting in a moment of weakness and despair to reach for the pills to end it all. I’m glad I didn’t have those pills when I was suffering so much or I wouldn’t be here today.”
Harimoto said that aid in dying bills have a “misplaced sense of compassion.”
Psalm 68:20 reads, “He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.”