Massachusetts lawmakers considering physician-assisted suicide bill

Six states allow physician-assisted death

Photo Courtesy: NEWS10

BOSTON (WWLP)—Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe patients prescriptions that would end their lives. Supporters believe the bill’s passage would allow terminally ill patients to die peacefully, but a group of doctors is concerned the proposed law could be abused.

It’s known by many names: medical aid in dying, death with dignity and physician assisted suicide. The legislation would allow terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to request, obtain and self-ingest life-ending medication.

Marie Manis with the patient rights group “Compassion and Choices” supports the legislation to give options to people who go through significant pain in the last few months of life.

“I support it because I feel it’s an option that people should have,” Manis said.

The Massachusetts Medical Society withdrew their opposition to the proposal in December, but there are some doctors that still oppose the legislation with concerns the proposed law could be abused.

Family physician Mark Rollo is concerned insurance companies may refuse to cover expensive treatments, but instead offer to pay for a life-ending prescription. He said marginalized groups may be steered toward suicide.

“I don’t want any of my patients who are poor to get a letter from the state saying that they’re not going to pay for medication but they will pay for suicide pills,” Rollo said.

Massachusetts voters narrowly turned down a similar measure on the 2012 ballot.

The bill is currently under review by the Public Health Committee.