Governor Janet Mills has issued a media release, explaining her reasons for signing the Death With Dignity bill on Wednesday.

It's been a controversial proposal, from the start, and one that has caused the governor some concern. And who can blame her? How do you know whether it's the right thing to do, to allow medical providers to prescribe to terminally ill patients medication that will end their life? Supporters say it's the right thing to do because those patients should be allowed to die in peace, avoiding prolonged suffering. But critics say it's a dangerous precedent, because it could put those patients in grave danger from doctors who make the decision for them.

The process is not as easy as just writing a prescription, however, with two waiting periods for patients, one written and two oral requests, a second opinion by a consulting physician, and a psychological evaluation. These steps are included to serve as a precaution, in order to evaluate the depth of the patient's desire to end their life, and to confirm their terminal diagnosis.

The bill passed in the Maine House of Representatives by just one vote, and then passed the Senate by a narrow margin. Governor Mills signed the bill on Wednesday, and took to her government website to explain the reasoning that led up to her decision.

"It is my hope that this law," the governor said in her media release, "while respecting the right to personal liberty, will be used sparingly; that we will respect the life of every citizen, with the utmost concern for their spiritual and physical well-being, and that as a society we will be as vigorous in providing full comfort, hospice and palliative care to all persons, no matter their status, location or financial ability as we are in respecting their right to make this ultimate decision over their own fate and of their own free will."

Read Governor Mills' full explanation on her website. Maine is the 8th state to legalize medically assisted suicide.

More From WQCB Brewer Maine