Physician-assisted suicide is under consideration in the Maine Legislature (LD 347). There have been several attempts to pass such a law in Maine during the past several years and, so far, it has always been rejected.
PAS is not good medicine. It puts doctors, who are in their profession to be healers, in a roll inconsistent with their training. And how often is a six-month prognosis inaccurate because the patient is misdiagnosed, is cured or lives even years beyond the prognosis?
PAS puts frail, elderly and disabled people at risk for feeling obligated to die. In Oregon (the first state to legalize PAS), a woman was told her insurance company would not pay for a treatment she needed, but would pay the cost for PAS drugs if she decided to do that (source, 2008 ABCnews.com).
There is nothing in the proposed legislation to protect people with mental illness, such as depression, which is treatable. Although such a law is supposed to be for people with a terminal diagnosis, a significant percentage of people in Switzerland who were not terminally ill, but who had chronic illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension, have been given the lethal prescription (source, LifeSIteNews.com).
The law is not right for Maine, which is already losing hundreds of people each year to the drug epidemic. Maine needs truly compassionate care that provides pain relief and emotional support for people at a vulnerable time in their lives.
I hope my elected officials will vote in opposition to the bill.
Michelle Morneault, Poland