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Maine becomes the 9th US State with VAD law as veto bid fails

25 September, 2019

An eleventh-hour bid to veto Maine's aid-in-dying law has failed, allowing Maine to become the ninth US State to implement an assisted dying law.

Opponents of the Maine Death with Dignity Act, which was signed into law on 12 June, failed to gather the required number of signatures to stop the Bill's implementation.

"Our opponents have fallen short of gathering enough signatures by today's deadline for their petition to veto the Maine Death with Dignity Act," Dr Peg Sandeen, Death With Dignity's Executive Director, told supporters in an email.

"The will of the people of Maine has prevailed, and the nation's ninth aid-in-dying statute will go into effect tomorrow. 

"As of September 19, Mainers will be able to die the way they want: without suffering, in peace, and with dignity," she said.

According to the Death With Dignity website, the Christian Civic League of Maine filed a petition to repeal the new law through a people’s veto ballot initiative. On 18 September they announced they had failed to gather the signatures required.

The Maine Death with Dignity Act passed Maine's House by 73 votes to 72 and in the Senate by 19 votes to 16. 

Like the Oregon law on which it's based, the Maine Death with Dignity Act allows terminally ill adults to receive prescription medication to end their lives. The patient must be a Maine resident, competent and deemed by two physicians to be within six months of death. The process entails two oral and one written request witnessed by two people and a waiting period.

Nearly 70 million Americans now live in a state with an assisted dying option.

Read Death With Dignity's email below:

 

I rarely celebrate failure but this is one that made me cry out with relief: our opponents have fallen short of gathering enough signatures by today's deadline for their petition to veto the Maine Death with Dignity Act. The will of the people of Maine has prevailed, and the nation's ninth aid-in-dying statute will go into effect tomorrow.

As of September 19, Mainers will be able to die the way they want: without suffering, in peace, and with dignity. Mainers like Cyndie Rogers, who has been sharing her story and the wish to die using the law in the state and national media. Or Len Freeman, a dedicated volunteer for Maine Death with Dignity who simply wants Mainers to have "the end-of-life choices they want and need." Or Val Lovelace, the fearless leader of Maine Death with Dignity, whose tireless work, sleepless nights, and perseverance above all made this law possible.

Will you sign a card to congratulate Mainers on the Death with Dignity Act?


Card congratulating Mainers on the Death with Dignity Act

Thanks to you, nearly 70 million Americans now live in a state with an assisted dying option. From Maine to California, Washington state to Washington, D.C., Hawaii to Vermont, together we are making progress in bringing death with dignity to all Americans who want the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions.

Please share your well wishes with Mainers on their new end-of-life option.

Sincerely,

Peg

--
Peg Sandeen, PhD, MSW
Executive Director, Death with Dignity

 

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