One of the biggest fears among the elderly and those with a terminal illness is that they’ll suffer a protracted death, helpless as they battle pain and lose their capacities. We can assuage those concerns by encouraging our state legislators to vote in favor of L.D. 347, An Act to Support Death with Dignity. Similar to bills adopted in other states, it would allow Maine residents facing imminent death to shape how that process unfolds.

Our culture has gotten far off-track in its relation to the process of dying, as Atul Gawande’s book “Being Mortal” illustrates. We need to change the conversation around dying, and the choices that people have.

L.D. 347 offers options to those who face only the prospect of increased pain and debilitation. We owe those in that difficult circumstance the right to decide for themselves what matters most in the end.

Marina Schauffler