A bill to allow terminally ill Mainers to end their own lives won final passage in the House on Monday, on a 73-72 vote.
Opponents called the bill assisted suicide and said it is morally wrong, allowing people to act like God. Republican Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham from Winter Harbor says the bill is not drafted as tightly as he would like.
“If a law like this should ever pass, it should be one that crosses all the T’s and dots all the I’s. This bill does not do that,” he says.
The debate in the Legislature over the so-called death with dignity bill has been emotional and often personal. The final debate in the House was no different, and the one-vote margin reflects how narrowly divided the public is on the issue.
Supporters argue the bill provides another choice to the terminally ill.
“Patients, for whom death is slow in coming, agonizing, dehumanizing. These are the patients this legislation is for. This offers the choice,” says Democratic Rep. Michele Meyer of Eliot.
The measure still faces a final vote in the Senate, and Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has not indicated where she stands on the issue.