Approval of the Maine Death with Dignity Act (L.D. 1313), now being considered by the Legislature, will let Maine join the growing number of states allowing an individual to end their own life under very strict circumstances. The experience of those states shows no evidence of misuse or abuse.

Consider a person with a terminal diagnosis coupled with the probability of a long, painful and possibly bankrupting death (with the subsequent impoverishment of the survivors). Having the choice to end their own physical and mental suffering would be a great comfort even if they never opt to exercise that choice.

Of significance, the Maine Medical Association, following a membership survey, changed its position on physician-assisted suicide or death with dignity from “opposed” to “neutral.” That is both a welcome and an insightful change. Let’s permit a terminally ill patient, in consultation with their physician, to make an informed decision.

As constructed, L.D. 1313 will allow qualified, adult Mainers with a terminal illness to legally obtain a prescription for medications to end their life peacefully, in a dignified way, at the place and time of their choosing. Significant safeguards are embedded in the legislation. Over the past year I have gathered hundreds of signatures on a referendum petition to enact such a law. I know firsthand the support it has; people were enthusiastic to sign the petition. Many had heart-wrenching stories of loved ones who pleaded for the ability to end their lives peacefully but who were instead forced to die in pain and despair.

The people of Maine want and deserve this Death with Dignity Act. Please contact your legislators and urge them to support L.D. 1313.

Len Freeman


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