Massachusetts voters narrowly defeat Question 2, measure that would have allowed physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients
NY Daily News: A Massachusetts ballot question that would have let terminally ill patients end their lives with physician-assisted suicide was narrowly defeated Tuesday.
Some 51% of voters rejected the measure, called Question 2, which would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to those with only six months to live.
“For the past year, the people of Massachusetts participated in an open and honest conversation about allowing terminally ill patients the choice to end their suffering,” the Death with Dignity campaign said in a conceding statement. “The Death with Dignity Act offered the terminally ill the right to make that decision for themselves, but regrettably, we fell short.” If passed, Massachusetts would have joined Washington and Oregon in allowing the terminally ill to end their lives with prescribed medication.
The Massachusetts measure was modeled on that of Oregon, which requires patients to request lethal medication from their doctors several times, both verbally and in writing, before they would be allowed to not only receive the dose — but administer it themselves.
While the bill enjoyed support in early polls, backing began to lag as opponents blasted the measure, claiming that it was vaguely written and lacked an adequate definition of mental competency. “We believe Question 2 was defeated because the voters came to see this as a flawed approach to end of life care, lacking in the most basic safeguards,” Roseanne Bacon Meade, said in the statement, according to the Boston Globe.
Massachusetts resident Paul Santoro was one such voter. “I’m actually in favor of assisted suicide, but not how this is written,” Santoro told the Globe, explaining that he was worried about the initiative’s lack of mandatory psychiatric evaluations, as well as family notification.
Oregon’s law has faced many legal challenges. However, since it was enacted in 1997, some 935 people have asked for lethal medications, and 596 have used them.
Proponents of the Massachusetts bill say the fight is far from over. “Even in defeat, the voters of Massachusetts have delivered a call to action that will continue and grow until the terminally-ill have the right to end their suffering, because today dying people needlessly endure in our Commonwealth and do not have the right to control their most personal medical decision,” the Death with Dignity campaign said.
Having witnessed two people die from terminal illnesses, I can say they both would never have chosen to take their own life. They both fought until the end. And they both died most peaceful.
Sad that one would feel the need to kill themself instead of waiting for the time when God called them.