Penelope A. Morrell, State Director
Concerned Women for America of Maine
To Members of the Health and Human Services Committee
Regarding L.D. #347, “An Act to Support Death with Dignity”
April 5, 2017
Chairs Senator Brakey and Representative Hymanson, and distinguished members of the Health and Human Services Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on this legislation. I’m Penny Morrell, State Director of Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Maine.
I would like to start my testimony by challenging section 12, “statutory construction.” The statement that this action may not be construed to constitute assisted suicide is ludicrous. It’s like fake news. Just because it’s said, doesn’t make it true. This bill is assisted suicide, plain and simple. That said, I will address my testimony on that premise and request this committee vote L.D. #347 “Ought Not to Pass”.
Myths vs. facts:
- Myth: Assisted suicide offers patients more choices. Fact: Lethal medications, estimated to cost approximately $300, are far cheaper than most drugs used to treat chronic, terminal, or serious illness. Profit-driven insurance companies push patients toward their only affordable option.
- Myth: Assisted suicide protects patient dignity. Fact: Oregon, the first to legalize, reports that individuals choose it because of a disability such as loss of autonomy, loss of enjoyable life activities and loss of dignity.
- Myth: Assisted suicide is necessary to address unresponsive pain. Fact: Oregon reports that reasons have nothing to do with pain management, and is one of the least cited reasons. Doctors have a range of treatment options including even palliative sedation as a last resort. Ted Kennedy’s widow testified that any deficiencies in U.S. palliative care should be addressed by improving the system instead of killing the sufferer.
- Myth: Assisted suicide is restricted to the terminally ill. Fact: Language in the bill applies to patients with incurable, irreversible diseases that, if left untreated, could lead to death in six months. Under this definition, patients with diabetes and/or certain thyroid conditions would be eligible, yet with care, these conditions are not fatal.
- Myth: Doctors can identify patients with less than six months to live. Fact: This is false, and the legislation doesn’t require experienced doctors to determine if a patient is eligible to be put to death. Oregon reports that the physician only worked with the patient an average of 12 weeks, and in extreme cases, for a week. Oregon also reports that one patient took the medication nearly three years after making the initial request; therefore, the doctor could not have accurately determined the 6-month prognosis.
- Myth: Legal requirements in assisted suicide laws provide patients adequate protection. Fact: There is no mechanism for discovering malpractice or failure to comply with the rules. There is no oversight either. Oregon said they were not given the resources or legal authority to investigate or insert themselves. There are not sufficient safeguards against coercion and elder abuse. Because any doctor can write a lethal prescription, an abuser can “doctor shop” until they find a provider willing to assist them in killing their victim. Witness(es) requirements are lax. A witness may be able to benefit financially from the patient’s decease, or the witness(es) are not required to have any prior relationship with the patient. Neither witness is in a position to assert that the patient acts voluntarily, and in addition, no witnesses are required at the time of the death, so voluntary death is impossible to prove. In states where it is legal, the law allows doctors to voluntarily self-report participation and compliance. Oregon destroys the records after issuing its annual report.
CWA of Maine urges this committee to vote L.D. #347, “Ought Not to Pass.”
As the State Director of CWA of Maine I submitted written testimony today to the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee regarding L.D. #250, “An Act to Increase the Penalty for Aggravated Sex Trafficking”.
Human trafficking and commercial sex exploitation are a violation of human rights and a form of sexual violence. It’s way past time to get tough on this heinous behavior going on in our state and nation. Government’s priority is to protect the lives of innocent citizens. We believe increasing the penalty for such acts of aggravated sex trafficking will take a giant step in doing just that.
Take Action: Please contact the members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and ask them to support this legislation. Be sure to let them know that you are a member of Concerned Women for America of Maine. For talking points, please read my written testimony.
Sen. Kimberley Rosen – – Chair: 207-287-1122 / [email protected]
Sen. Scott Cyrway – Chair: [email protected]
Sen. Bill Diamond- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Charlotte Warren – – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Patrick Corey- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Karen Gerrish- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Martin Grohman: [email protected]
Rep. Lloyd Herrick- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Donald Marean- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Thomas Longstaff- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Catherine Nadeau- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Lois Reckitt- – Chair: [email protected]
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross: [email protected]
Please Pray: May the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in thy sight, Oh Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Pray this bill becomes law to punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime and discourage further acts moving forward.
Statement by Penelope A. Morrell, State Director, Concerned Women for America of Maine
To Members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee
Regarding L.D. #250, “An Act to Increase the Penalty for Aggravated Sex Trafficking”
March 22, 2017
Chairs Sen. Rosen and Rep. Warren, and distinguished members of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony on this legislation. I’m Penny Morrell, State Director of Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Maine. CWA is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation.
CWA of Maine supports L.D. #250.
Human trafficking and commercial sex exploitation are a violation of human rights and a form of sexual violence. It can happen to U.S. citizens and to non-citizens and to people of any gender, class, age, culture or race. Human trafficking is the act of compelling someone into labor (including commercial sex work) through force, fraud or coercion, for economic gain of a trafficker. Any minor in commercial sex work is a victim of human trafficking.
Here are some statistics taken from the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
- Prevalence of sex trafficking in Maine ranges between 200 and 300 cases annually.
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline has reported over 311 calls from Maine since 2007 with 53 cases of trafficking identified.
- Sexual assault support centers from every area of Maine report serving victims of sex trafficking and commercial sex exploitation.
- Between 70-90% of commercially sexually exploited youth are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
It’s way past time to get tough on this heinous behavior going on in our state and nation. Government’s priority is to protect the lives of innocent citizens. We believe increasing the penalty for such acts of aggravated sex trafficking will take a giant step in doing just that.
We urge this committee to vote “ought to pass”. Thank you.
On March 5, at the University of Southern Maine, 600 people showed up for a listening session held by Sen. Angus King to voice their opinions on the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Sixty affirmative votes are needed to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch in the Senate, and Sen. King could be the key vote. Among the crowd were several CWA members joined with Maine’s CWA state director, Penny Morrell, and CWA National Communications Coordinator Janae Stracke.
Sen. King shared that he hadn’t decided which way he was going to vote, but stated he met privately with Gorsuch last week to better understand his judicial philosophy and temperament. The first session lasted two hours, and Sen. King determined that was not enough and added two more hours to the session in order to hear as many Mainers as possible.
CWA’s own Penny Morrel said, “Antonin Scalia was a strict constitutionalist. He didn’t make laws. … Judge Gorsuch will do the same.” Others joined with her to explain that Gorsuch will be bipartisan and see both sides. Members held signs and wore stickers that represented CWA’s support for Gorsuch.
CWA Communications Coordinator Janae Stracke was also present to represent CWA members and spoke on their behalf.
Special thanks to the members of CWA of Maine for coming out and speaking up at the listening session! We’re confident that Sen. King heard our voices, and we will pray that he ensures Mainers get the U.S. Supreme Court Justice they deserve and America needs.
Samantha Stohlman is part of Concerned Women for America’s 2017 Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship class.
Concerned Women for America Maine State Director, Penny Morrell, had this to say:
“I made the drive to Portland to ask Senator King to vote ‘yes’ to Judge Gorsuch, because I believe he will be a strict constitutionalist, just as Justice Scalia was, and that is what America needs right now. Our country needs a court system that will rule based on law, not feelings – this is good for every American, no matter your political affiliation.
“Portland is a liberal city and does not represent our state of Maine as a whole. I knew there would be opposition to Judge Gorsuch at Sen. King’s meeting simply because of the location, which is why I was greatly encouraged to hear so many in the crowd in support of Judge Gorsuch even given the location. That says a lot about the people of Maine and how strongly we feel about Judge Gorsuch and the future of this country. Many of us traveled far to have our voice of support heard.
“I truly hope Sen. King will do what’s right and vote ‘yes’ to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.”
You have a key role to play in the confirmation of the next Supreme Court Justice; Senator King is holding a Listening Session to hear what you think about Judge Gorsuch.
Senator King’s vote could ensure Judge Gorsuch gets the 60 votes needed in the Senate to confirm him as a Supreme Court Justice.
This Sunday, March 5, join CWA of Maine’s State Director, Penny Morrell, and CWA National’s Communications Coordinator, Janae Stracke, to let Sen. King know Mainers want Judge Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court. They will have stickers and signs to pass out so you can make your voice heard and show your support for Judge Gorsuch.
Date: Sunday, March 5
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Hannaford Hall in Abromson Community Education Center
University of Southern Maine
88 Bedford St, Portland, ME 04101
We are thankful that Sen. King is taking the time to hear what you think; let’s not miss this opportunity to help get a Constitutionalist Supreme Court Justice confirmed and help secure the balance of the Court for the next 30 years.
We look forward to seeing you there as we ensure Mainers get the U.S. Supreme Court Justice they deserve and America needs.
Action: Join Penny and Janae at Sen. King’s Listening Sessions and show your support for Judge Gorsuch!
For more resources on why Judge Gorsuch should be confirmed, check out our legal studies page.
Pray: For a good turnout at this meeting and that Sen. King will do what is best for Mainers by voting to confirm Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Penelope A. Morrell, State Director
Concerned Women for America of Maine
To Members of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee
Regarding L.D. #95, “An Act To Provide a Method for a Student To Be Excused
from Standardized Testing”
February 7, 2017
Chairs Senator Langley and Representative Kornfield, and distinguished members of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, thank you for the opportunity to submit written testimony on this legislation. I’m Penny Morrell, State Director of Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Maine.
I regret that I was unable to submit my testimony at the hearing, and appreciate your attention to these comments.
We support this legislation to allow parents to decide what testing their child will take. The Supreme Court has already affirmed parents’ rights regarding testing, but local schools are able to pressure students and parents to participate. Also, this legislation will require educators to notify parents about the testing and the parents’ rights to opt out. Parents deserve to know their rights especially when it pertains to what’s best for their children. Currently, parental notification is not allowed.
Especially upright in this bill is the fact that the Department of Education may not penalize a school for excusing a student from an assessment, and the school may not penalize a student for being excused from an assessment.
We urge this committee to vote “Ought To Pass” on L.D. 95.