Senate had earlier kept legislation alive

House rejects 'death with dignity' bill

By Stephen Betts | May 19, 2017

Augusta — A bill that would allow physicians to prescribe medication to hasten the death of a terminally ill patient was rejected in the Maine House.

This follows a vote last week in the state Senate that supported the legislation.

The House voted 85-61 on Tuesday, May 23 to reject LD 347 which is labeled "An act to support death with dignity."

State Reps. Anne "Pinny" Beebe-Center; Owen Casas, independent of Rockport; and John Spear, D-South Thomaston voted in support of the legislation.

Spear said it was a personal decision and that were significant safeguards in the bill.

Reps. Paula Sutton, R-Warren; and Abden Simmons, R-Waldoboro, voted against the bill.

The Senate voted 16-15 on May 18 to keep the bill alive.

Democratic Sen. David Miramant of Camden, voted to support the bill. Republican Sens. Dana Dow of Waldoboro and Michael Thibodeau of Winterport voted against the bill.

Miramant co-sponsored the legislation and said it is patterned after the Oregon law that has been in place for 19 years with no problems. Miramant said there are safeguards in place to make sure that a person is of sound mind before being allowed to make such a decision.

He said there were impassioned pleas to the Legislature by people who want to be able to make the choice.

The bill would create a process for physicians to prescribe medications to terminally ill adults with a limited life expectancy. The bill would allow patients to self-administer the medications to hasten their death.

The bill would provide protections for the physician, the patient's health care facility and health care providers. The bill protects the patient's life insurance and the health care providers' medical professional liability insurance.

The bill specifically states that nothing in the bill is be construed to authorize a physician or other person to end a patient's life by lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia.

Independent or unenrolled

The Maine House on May 18 rejected a bill that would have required independent candidates running for state offices to be listed as unenrolled in a political party rather than listed as independent.

The House voted 76-71 against LD 568.

Voting to kill the bill were Reps. Anne "Pinny" Beebe-Center, D-Rockland; Owen Casas, independent of Rockport; and John Spear, D-South Thomaston.

Voting for the bill were Republican Reps. Paula Sutton of Warren; and Abden Simmons of Waldoboro.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.