On March 19, 2019, the Maine Death with Dignity Act (LD 1313) was introduced by Rep. Hymanson with co-sponsors Sen. Woodsome, and Representatives Bailey, Denno, Meyer, Stearns; and Senators: Gratwick and Moore. This bill is similar to the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable, so they can die peacefully in their sleep.
The bill received its first hearing on April 10, 2019 by the Committee on Health and Human Services. On May 28, the Maine House of Representatives passed LD 1313, the Maine Death with Dignity Act, with a 72-68 vote. On May 30, the Senate passed the Maine Death with Dignity Act by a vote of 19-16. On June 3, the Maine House of Representatives voted to enact LD 1313 by a vote of 73-72. On June 4, the state Senate voted to enact LD1313 by a vote of 19-16. Governor Janet Mills signed LD 1313 into law on June 12, 2019.
In an interview with the Portland Press Herald, Governor Mills said: “It is my hope that this law, while respecting the right of personal liberty, will be used sparingly and that we will respect the life of every citizen with the utmost concern for their spiritual and physical well-being. And that as a society that we will be as vigorous in providing full comfort, hospice and palliative care to all persons – regardless of their status, location or financial ability – as we are in respecting their right to make this ultimate decision over the own fate, of their own free will.”
The Maine efforts were led by Maine Death with Dignity and local on-the-ground advocates, volunteers and supporters in the state.