The right to die has been a controversial topic all around the world, with many arguments both for and against a person’s choice to live with their terminal illness or being able to die with dignity.

The Portland Press Herald published an article Feb. 7 regarding Sandra and Donald Cragin and their decision to allow Sandra Cragin to die on her own terms. She was battling Huntington’s disease and had lost her father to the same terminal illness. Sandra Cragin knew what was in store for her, so she made a plan with her husband to be able to end her life, on her terms, before the disease made that decision for her.

Physician-assisted death is not a new issue and has gone through the Maine Legislature with multiple bills attempting to allow it. Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta brought forth and sponsored the “Act to Support Death with Dignity” on Feb. 2. This bill enacts a process for patient-directed care when they are at the end of life or terminally ill. It has protections for the people and facilities involved as well as life insurance protections.

California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington state have all passed similar laws allowing a person with terminal illness choices of how they wish to die. The nonprofit organization Death with Dignity believes that “the greatest human freedom is to live and die according to our own desires and beliefs.”

L.D. 347, “An Act to Support Death with Dignity,” is currently going through the legislative process. I urge all Mainers to strongly consider their beliefs and desires in regard to this very personal decision. Those who are suffering should be free to end their life on their own terms without consequence to their loved ones.

Marianne O’Connor


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