SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A controversial proposal could make its way back to Beacon Hill next year, as the state might be dealing with the possibility of legalizing physician assisted suicide next year.
This week, 2 doctors filed a lawsuit in Suffolk superior court – one of them with terminal prostate cancer. They asked the court to affirm that physician assisted death isn’t a crime in Massachusetts. Oregon, Vermont, and California also have laws allowing doctors to issue lethal prescriptions to help someone end their life.
Dr. Ira Helfand of Family Care Medical Center in Springfield told 22News, “For many people, the fear of dying is not as great as the fear of suffering a very long and painful illness at the end of their life. Knowing that, at that point, they will be able to end their life is an enormously comforting and important thing.”
Massachusetts voters narrowly rejected a ballot question about assisted death 4 years ago – but the national organization “Compassion & Choices” is trying to get a bill ready for consideration in the legislative next session.
Dr. Helfand says most people who are against physician assisted death – or death with dignity – say it goes against religious practices. Opponents believe life is meant to end naturally, even its against what the patient wants.
According to Dr. Helfand, in Amsterdam, 2 physicians each consult with a patient twice to make sure a patient isn’t acting on impulse or depression. No specific plan has been discussed as to how the process would work if a patient wishes to end his life. Representative Louis Kafka of Stoughton is preparing to file an assisted death bill in January for the 5th time.