Physician-assisted suicide gains Maine Senate OK but is unlikely to be enacted

“Legalizing physician-assisted suicide is just too dangerous for the state of Maine,” said Sen. Amy Volk.

A bill to allow physician-assisted suicide in Maine passed narrowly through the Senate on Thursday on a 16-15 vote. However, the bill faces long odds for final enactment.

Because of stated opposition to the bill from Republican Gov. Paul LePage, the measure needs two-thirds support in both legislative chambers, which in the Senate requires 24 votes.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, would legalize an extended process through which a terminally ill patient who has the mental capacity to do so could end his or her life with the assistance of a doctor. LD 347 includes a more than two-week process in which a patient must affirm and re-affirm his wishes and addresses issues ranging from palliative care to life insurance issues.

Katz sponsored a similar bill in 2015. It passed in the House but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate on an 18-17 vote with all but three Republicans voting against it.

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