Northampton City Council to decide on physician assisted suicide for terminally ill patients

Some people object to it on religious and moral grounds

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The Northampton City Council, Thursday night, will vote on a resolution that would allow a terminally ill person the right to end their life.

“A Hospice does great work, but not in every case. We believe it’s time to have this option in Massachusetts,” said John Berkowitz of the Pioneer Valley Death with Dignity Action Group.

It’s known as The End of Life Options Act, better known as ‘physician assisted suicide.’ Some people object to it on religious and moral grounds.

“It’s time to give people the option. Its just an option,” Berkowitz told 22News. “It’s no mandate. No doctor is forced to do it. People are not forced to do it, but it’s an option that I think many people would like to have.”

Massachusetts lawmakers considering medical aid in dying bill

Six other states have already passed “Death with Dignity” laws, including Vermont. Assisted suicide is illegal in Massachusetts.

In 2012 “The Death with Dignity” bill was defeated by Massachusetts voters by 51-49-percent.

According to Attorney James Winston, lawmakers have to wait a minimum of 5-years before bringing a similar bill back on the ballot.

“It was actually the 7th time that that same issue has been before the  Massachusetts voters and each time it gained momentum,” Attorney James Winston said. “So, possibly an eighth time might be the charm and it might pass in 2018.”

The question may be on the ballot next year, but with more layers of protection.

A person wishing to end their life would be required to have two physicians sign off on the request,  and would need a psychological examination.

Amherst will vote next week.

The Northampton City Council will vote at Thursday’s meeting.