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End-of-Life Options Legislation Receives Hearing by Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services

Bill will now be considered in Committee Work Session

LD 347, an Act Supporting Death with Dignity, was heard today by Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services. Sen. Roger Katz (R-Augusta) who introduced the bill, testified at the hearing along with Compassion & Choices supporters. The bill will next be reviewed in a “Work Session” of the committee.

Medical aid in dying is an end-of-life medical practice in which a terminally ill, mentally capable individual who has a prognosis of six months or less to live requests, obtains and—if his or her suffering becomes unbearable—self-administers medication that brings about a peaceful death.

“As every day passes, it becomes more critical that our Legislature act to stop the unnecessary suffering for those mentally capable Mainers who face terminal illness,” said Lynne Tobin, a West Boothbay Harbor resident and advocate for Compassion & Choices. “With 30 years of combined experience in this public policy, it is clear that the vague generalities and arguments put forward by opponents today are completely unfounded.”

If enacted, LD 347 would allow Maine to join six other states and the District of Columbia in authorizing medical aid-in-dying legislation. Oregon, where aid in dying has been legal for two decades, has been joined by Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, DC.