A group of Maine state legislators, led by Representative Patricia Hymanson (D-York) has announced their intent to introduce a death with dignity bill identical to the proposal put forward by Maine Death with Dignity.
A 2017 Public Policy Polling survey we commissioned shows that 73 percent of Mainers support Death with Dignity legislation. Learn more →
Maine State Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec/Augusta) introduced SP 113 / LD 347, An Act to Support Death with Dignity, on February 2, 2017. Co-sponsors included
- Maine State Senators Brownie Carson (D-Cumberland), Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot), Dawn Hill (D-York), Dave Miramant (D-Knox), and Kimberley Rosen (R-Hancock)
- Maine State Representatives Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor), Patricia Hymanson (D-York), Eric Jorgensen, (D-Portland), and Stephen Wood (R-Greene).
Maine State Representative Jennifer Parker introduced HP 749 / LD 1066, An Act to Support Life with Dignity, which was nearly identical to SP 113 / LD 347, on March 16, 2017.
Both bills were heard at a joint hearing of the Committee Health and Human Services Committee on April 5, 2017. At the hearing, the Maine Medical Association testified “neither for nor against” the proposed bill and later officially changed its position to neutral.
In the work session on April 19, 2017, the Committee voted 5 to 8 against the bill, with the recommendation “Ought Not to Pass” (6 of the 8 “ought not to pass votes” were Republican Representatives and Senators endorsed by the Christian Civic League of Maine).
LD 347 was reported out of the HHS committee on May 11, 2017 with amendments, adding provisions from LD 1066 that were not included in the bill.
The Maine State Senate then passed the combined bill, LD 347, on May 18, 2017, 16 to 15.
On May 23, the Maine House of Representatives voted 61 to 85 against the bill, which was thus defeated in the session.
- Full text of SP 113 / LD 347
- LD 347 bill history
- Full text of HP 749 / LD 1066
- LD 1066 bill history
- Our testimony in support of LD 347 and LD 1066 at the April 5, 2017 hearing
- Our articles about Maine (includes media roundups with news stories from Maine)
In April 2015 Representatives Bobbi Beavers (D-South Berwick), Richard Campbell (R-Orrington), Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford), Denise Harlow (D-Portland), Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor), Eric Jorgensen, (D-Portland), Diane Russell (D-Portland), Stephen Wood (R-Greene), as well as Senators Roger Katz (R-Kennebec/Augusta) and Dawn Hill (D-York) cross-filed SP 452 / LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-directed Care at the End of Life. The Joint Committee on Health and Human Services recommended that the bill ought not to pass 7 to 6 at working sessions on May 22 and May 29. On June 15 the Maine House approved the bill 76-70, while the Senate voted 18-17 against the bill on June 15 and 16.
In 2013, a physician-assisted dying bill with a much broader scope than the Oregon model, LD 1065, was considered and rejected in the legislature. We approved of this down vote as the bill would have legalized euthanasia.
In 2000, our predecessor organization sponsored Question 1, a ballot initiative proposal closely modeled after the Oregon law, seeking to legalize physician-assisted dying. The initiative was narrowly defeated 51 to 49 percent, with only a 6,000 vote difference statewide.
The first attempts to pass physician-assisted dying legislation in Maine came after Oregon pass the Death with Dignity Act:
- HB 552 in 1995
- LD 916 in 1996
- HB 663 in 1997
- IB 3/IB 10 in 1999
A 1998 survey of Maine voters found that 63 percent of respondents favored physician-assisted dying.