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Maine legalizes assisted suicide

Maine is now the eighth state to legalize assisted suicide, allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for patients who are terminally ill.

Although Gov. Janet Mills (D) previously said she wasn't entirely sold on the bill, she signed it into law on Wednesday. Under the law, a "terminal illness" is defined as being incurable and most likely ending a person's life within six months. A patient must make one written and two verbal requests for the medicine, and receive a second opinion from a doctor. Physicians will also check the patient to make sure their judgment is not impaired, The Associated Press reports. The law makes it illegal to forge a request or force someone into asking for life-ending medicine.

After failing to pass at least seven other times, Maine's House and Senate narrowly approved the bill. Oregon was the first state to legalize assisted suicide in 1997.