Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hearing on Physician Assisted Suicide Bill - follow-up report


I testified, on behalf of Mass. Citizens, against the Physician Assisted Suicide Bill at the hearing along with representatives from The MA Hospice Association, The MA Catholic Conference, and ten other citizens who had a personal interest in opposing the bill.  The story from the State House News Service is below.  It was a pretty tame hearing. 

It is worrisome, however, that the "push calls" are being made, that "the upcoming euthanasia hearings" were featured on numerous news broadcasts the day before the hearings, that Marjorie Eagan wrote a column yesterday forcefully advocating PAS, that the Herald ran another story that seemed to agree with the bill, and that a number of newspapers covered the hearing.  Mass Citizens will keep on top of this and let you know!

Marie Sturgis, Legislative Director



When John Norton was a teenager in the 1950s, told by his doctors he had Lou Gehrig's Disease and less than five years to live, he would've "happily" taken a pill to end his life. More than 50 years later, Norton now calls it a "tremendous blessing" that he wasn't able to end his life. He told his story Tuesday to a handful of lawmakers considering a proposal to sanction assisted suicide in Massachusetts. Norton said that if such laws existed when he was first diagnosed, he might not be alive today. Opponents of the proposal (H 1468), sponsored by Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton), said too many opportunities for error exist in the current proposal. The proposal would allow patients medically determined to have fewer than six months to live to request medication to end their lives. Backers of the legislation, dubbed "An Act Relative to Death with Dignity," say it empowers suffering patients to choose death rather than prolonging their illness. Even one supporter of the proposal said he worried that the bill failed to safeguard against potential errors. William Stearns, who said he lost his mother, father and sister to terminal illnesses, said the proposal would require written or oral notification, which some terminal patients are incapable of providing. He also noted that a patient who obtains lethal medication could inadvertently leave it somewhere accessible to children or unauthorized users.


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  1. I think it's poignant to note that this bill comes on the heels of "Healthcare" reform. This terrible legislation has become law only through duplicity and chicanery and it's language is as much double talk. My point is, how long before the "Right to Die" is the law of the land and a

  2. I just recently lost my cousin to ovarian cancer. She fought it for 3 years. The last week before she died was unbearable for her and for our family and friends. I don't think she died with dignity. She was a strong young woman, who was suffering considerably days before she died. The amount of mediciations they injected into her really made me ask the question- "is this the time when assisted suicide makes sense?" She was in palliative care and we knew she wouldn't leave the hospital. After this experience my ideas on assisted suicide have changed. I think she should have had the choice. She suffered so much and we all saw it.