Maine residents are being asked to sign a petition calling for a referendum on legalizing assisted suicide to be placed on the 2019 ballot. The practice was legalized in Oregon in 1997. Since then, there have been far more problematic issues and unanswered questions than any assisted-suicide proponent claims.
The Maine Legislature has voted down a number of attempts to legalize assisted suicide over the past two decades. The Health and Human Services Committee has never supported any version of this proposal, and an assisted-suicide measure has never passed the Legislature. In fact, the last time such a bill went to a floor vote, in 2017, it failed the House by 61 to 85, a larger margin than in recent history.
The proponents of this law can’t pass this it in the Legislature, so now they are trying to get it through a statewide referendum. The problem is that the proponents have short memories: In 2000, Maine voters soundly rejecteda referendum that mirrored Oregon’s law. Mainers have decided time and again against assisted suicide, and we don’t need another referendum funded primarily by out-of-state interests.
If asked to sign a petition for the referendum, say “no,” and be firm. Assisted-suicide laws are the most blatant forms of discrimination based on disability in our society today.