Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Fails To Thrive in Maine Legislature

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A Maine lawmaker’s bill that would allow doctors to assist the terminally ill in killing themselves didn’t get a positive recommendation from a key legislative committee this week, signaling that efforts to legalize doctor-assisted suicide in the state may be dashed.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the bill’s failure to land majority support from members of the Health and Human Services Committee — coupled with Republican Governor Paul LePage’s vow to veto the measure should it reach his desk — has not prompted the bill’s lead sponsor to abandon lobbying efforts.

“There are plenty of examples of bills that come out of a committee with a recommendation of ought not to pass that end up passing,” lead sponsor state Senator Roger Katz (R-Augusta) told the newspaper following the vote. “This is something that people will have to make a personal decision on.”

LePage’s promise of a veto means that Katz’s bill needs at least two-thirds majority approval to override the governor. A similar bill offered two years ago by Katz failed in the Senate by a single vote.

LePage during a radio appearance on WVOM Bangor told the George Hale Ric Tyler Show that he’s remains opposed to Katz’s latest efforts.

“Here we are talking about death with dignity and we’re sitting there, human beings, passing judgment on who can live and who can die,” LePage told the hosts. “No, I don’t believe in it.”

Last year Massachusetts lawmakers considered similar legislation before it members of the Joint Committee on Public Health tabled the measure, recommending that it be subjected to further review. It marked the fourth time that state Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) had filed the bill, with each time featuring a failure to move out of committee.