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Maine

Current Status

Governor Mills signed the Maine Death with Dignity Act into law on June 12, 2019. Maine is the 9th U.S. jurisdiction to have an aid-in-dying statute. Learn more here ›

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Resources and Additional Information

Our Partner

Maine Death with Dignity is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is providing services, education, and end-of-life advocacy to people who wish to actively explore the meaning of life through embracing the certainty of death. A primary program of Maine Death with Dignity is connecting people to the information they need to learn more about The Maine Death with Dignity Act and to support patients and providers through the entire process as needed.

About the Statute and Its Implementation

Resources for Patients

Resources for Healthcare Providers

Polling

A 2017 Public Policy Polling survey we commissioned showed that 73 percent of Mainers support death with dignity legislation.

History

2019

 

Status of Maine Death with Dignity Act on legislature's website

 

On June 26, 2019, opposition filed a petition to repeal the new law through a people’s veto ballot initiative. On September 18 the Christian Civic League of Maine announced they failed to gather the required number of signatures to put the initiative on the ballot in Maine.

2017

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.

Resources

2015

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.

2013

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.

2000

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.

Pre-2000

The first attempts to pass physician-assisted dying legislation in Maine came after Oregon passed 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.

Photo CC-BY-NC-ND Andy Smith.

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