Yesterday Maine became the 8th state in the Nation to legalize "death with dignity," allowing terminally ill people to end their lives with prescribed medication the Associated Press reports. The legislation defines terminal disease as one that is incurable and will likely end in death within six months. The new law requires not only a second opinion from a consulting physician, but also one written and two verbal requests. Physicians will also need to screen patients for judgement impairing conditions like depression, the article reports. The law includes criminalizing talking someone into requesting life-ending measures, and forging a request for the procedure.

The new law means that obtaining or administering life-ending medication is not suicide under state law, thereby legalizing the practice known as medically-assisted suicide.

Governor Mills said she hopes the new law will be used sparingly.

The first state to legalize doctors assisting patients in ending their lives was Oregon back in 1997 and was the only state to do so until 10 years later when Washington made the move.

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