Some terminally ill adults want more end-of-life options

Massachusetts voters narrowly rejected legalized suicide in 2012

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – There’s a renewed push to make Massachusetts the nation’s sixth state to allow assisted suicide. Holyoke resident Sandra Ward told 22News she wishes her father had more end-of-life options when he was battling cancer.

“He was wishing for an end to the pain and I was feeling helpless that there was nothing I could do about that,” said Ward.

State lawmakers heard testimony on a proposal that would allow terminally ill adults, with a prognosis of less than six months to live, the option of voluntarily ending their life through a prescribed, life-ending drug. They would have to self-administer the drug. Before receiving the prescription, patients would first have to speak with a counselor to make sure they’re of sound mind.

Westfield Democrat John Velis believes the bill encourages doctor-shopping. He said, “People may go from psychiatrist to psychiatrist to bolster to what they already want and that’s a doctor to prescribe these drugs.”

Massachusetts voters narrowly rejected legalized suicide back in 2012. Bill opponents argue that a doctor’s prognosis isn’t always accurate.

“Thousands of Americans every year graduate from hospice, meaning they outlive the six months diagnosis,” said John Kelly of Second Thoughts Massachusetts.

Vermont, California, Oregon, Washington and Montana all allow for legalized suicide. Proposed legislation is currently in committee here in Massachusetts.

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