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Maine Governor Vows to Veto Assisted Suicide Bill

gov lepageIf lawmakers manage to pass an assisted suicide bill that is currently moving through the legislature in Maine, Governor Paul R. LePage (R) says he will veto it.

The Portland Press Herald is reporting on the statement made by the Governor earlier this week to a local radio station about two bills currently under consideration in the state Legislature.

The primary bill, known as “An Act to Support Death with Dignity,” was discussed yesterday by members of the Health and Human Services Committee. At the same time, a second bill entitled, “An Act to Promote Life with Dignity” was also being discussed. Both bills are likely to be combined before the committee votes on whether or not to send it on to the full Legislature.

According to Lifemattersmedia.org, “The bills would protect health care providers who prescribe life-ending barbiturates to terminally ill adults nearing death. It would also create a process allowing qualifying patients to choose assisted suicide. Patients must be deemed mentally competent and ingest the drugs themselves.”

When the governor was asked about his position on the issue during a radio show on WVOM, he said: “I’m against it.”

He was then asked if this means the bill is destined for a veto should it pass the legislature.

“Yes,” the governor said. “Here we are talking about death with dignity and we’re sitting there, human beings, passing judgment on who can live and who can die. No, I don’t believe in it.”

The governor’s statement definitely changes the landscape for a bill that has never been assured of passage. And now, because of the threatened veto, it will have to pass by two-thirds of the Legislature in order to override the veto.

An attempt to pass a similar bill in 2015 failed by a single vote in the Senate.

However, if it does pass, and the governor’s veto is successfully overridden, Maine would become the sixth state to allow physicians assisted suicide.

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