Once again, bills have been introduced to the Maine Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Proponents call it “death with dignity” and “compassionate.” One expert in these matters warns us not to be fooled by these phrases.

Dr. Theo Boer is a professor of health care ethics in Holland and served on a regional committee that reviewed cases of assisted dying. His description of the slippery slope is disturbing.

In 1994, Holland became the first nation to officially legalize assisted dying. At that time, it was the “odd exception” for patients to choose assisted dying. It was seen as a last resort. Few patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia chose assisted dying.

In 2007 cases steadily increased. The Dutch Right to Die Society created a network of traveling euthanizing doctors, thus eliminating the doctor-patient relationship.

In 2015, one in 25 deaths were the consequence of assisted dying. Suicides rates have also gone up. There is a strong public movement toward euthanasia for children ages 1-11. Statistics show a rise in those who choose assisted dying among those suffering from psychiatric illness, dementia, the aged, lonely, and bereaved.

Boer states “right to die advocates see Dutch law as a step towards radical rights, such as offering lethal pills to anyone over 70.” Boer further states, “I can’t help but feel we — the Dutch — were naïve on this issue.”

Contact your legislators before it is too late. Ask them to vote down assisted suicide in Maine.

Kathryn Swegart

Rome