AUGUSTA – Another issue expected to spur passionate debate is an effort to allow those with terminal illnesses to decide when they want to die.
It’s not the first time it has come up in the legislature, but this time may be different.
A recent survey by public policy polling shows 73 percent of Mainers support death with dignity legislation.
Witnesses on both sides of the issue have bee flow in from across the country. And there doesn’t appear to be a party line on this proposal.
Senator Roger Katz, R-Augusta, said “A competent adult ought to have control over his or her own life generally free of government interference.”
One senator recently attended a seminar on the issue, where she was convinced this bill is not in the best interests of Mainers.
Senator Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, stated “The majority of the physicians that spoke up in this meeting were very uncomfortable with this legislation.”
And, even some people facing terminal illness find themselves on opposite sides of the issue.
Camden resident Eva Thompson has stage four colon cancer. She said “I feel like I should have the choice to say that’s enough.”
Four years ago Stephanie Packer was told she had two years to live. She flew to Maine from California to testify against the proposal. She added “And stand against laws like this that actually much more harm than good.”
Today, there are only six states which have legalized doctor assisted suicide. Wednesday morning, the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee holds a public hearing on the proposal sponsored by Senator Katz.