The blog for Massachusetts Citizens for Life: the pro-life movement in the Bay State since 1973.
Monday, August 8, 2011
OUR WORST NIGHTMARE!
For the past couple of years, "Death With Dignity", "Compassion in Dying" and the rest of the DEATH LOBBY have been announcing that they would sponsor an Initiative Petition in New England. Massachusetts and Vermont are the only states where that can be done. The people in Vermont held them off this winter, with a little help from us.
Well, the sword of Damocles has fallen! Last week they filed the petition below.
Polls show that, until they are educated, people fall hook line and sinker for the death rhetoric. When you read their petition you will see it is like a siren song.
There will be so much for us to do to protect vulnerable people.
The first need: if you are a nurse or if you have survived a fatal diagnosis, please contact me right away by pressing "reply". Bless you! Anne
BACKERS OF ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR TERMINALLY ILL LOOK TO BALLOT
By Kyle Cheney STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, AUG. 3, 2011&..Voters may be asked to determine the fate of a proposal permitting dying patients to take life-ending drugs, a wrenching issue that backers say is a matter of dignity for the terminally ill but opponents have warned is fraught with the potential for error.
Backers of assisted suicide for certain terminally ill patients filed paperwork with Attorney General Martha Coakley on Wednesday to begin the process of bringing their plan, dubbed the Death With Dignity Act,to the 2012 ballot.
The proposed law asks voters to recognize that it is in the public interest to permit patients with a terminal disease that will cause death within six monthsto obtain drugs to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.The plan also requires the patient to be capable of making medical decisions and to consult with physicians.
It is further declared that the public welfare requires that such a process be entirely voluntary on the part of all participants, including the patient, his or her physicians, and any other health care provider or facility providing services or care to the patient,according to the text of the proposal.
Only two states, Washington and Oregon, have legalized assisted suicide.
To reach the ballot, backers must have the language of their plan certified by Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has until early September to make a determination. Then, proponents must gather 68,911 signatures by mid-November. If the signature drive succeeds, lawmakers have until May 2012 to back the proposal, offer an alternative or permit the plan to go to the ballot undeterred. Barring legislative intervention, backers would need to collect an additional 11,485 signatures before sending the plan to voters in November 2012.
The proposal adds another divisive issue to a growing list of potential 2012 ballot questions that already includes the legalization and regulation of medical marijuana, the repeal of Massachusettss individual mandate to obtain health insurance, a requirement that school personnel decisions prioritize teacher evaluation results and a bill requiring auto manufacturers to sell repair information to independent mechanics.
Rep. Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) filed a bill earlier this year that resembles the assisted suicide ballot proposal, and he told the News Service that a ballot push could draw attention to the issue.
As Im finding out, more people in the general public are interested in the issue because of personal either having family members that have gone through serious and painful deaths, illnesses and then death, and would have, in their opinion, benefited from such a law,Kafka said in a phone interview, adding the he learned of the proposal Wednesday and is not one of the ballot drive organizers. Perhaps educating the public and then pursuing a law from the standpoint of a ballot question may be a better vehicle than legislation.
Usually an issue like this could take two or three or four sessions before, as I like to put it, the time has come for passage,Kafka continued. I think we could work together to the issues advantage, giving people the ability to die with dignity.
Kafkas bill (H 2233) has been cosponsored by six colleagues and is scheduled for a hearing in the fall.
An iteration of the proposal that Kafka offered last session drew concern from critics who said it could result in unintended consequences, such as accidentally leaving lethal prescriptions accessible to children or unauthorized users. In addition, during a hearing on the proposal last year, one supporter of the bill said it failed to account for patients who are mentally capable of making health care decisions but unable to speak.
The proposed ballot question requires patients to make an oral and a written requestfor life-ending drugs and then reiterate that request 15 days later in the presence of an attending physician.
The proposal requires that a written request for the drugs be submitted and signed by a patient, as well as two individuals who attest that the patient has not been coerced. One of the witnesses must be someone other than a blood relative, a beneficiary of the patients estate or the patients attending physician.
Doctors who receive such requests must verify that their patientsillnesses are terminal, that they are Massachusetts residents, inform them of potential alternatives including hospice care, pain control and comfort care refer them to another doctor for a second medical opinion, and remind them that they may change course at any time.
A patient shall not receive a prescription for medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner unless he or she has made an informed decision,according to the proposal. Immediately before writing a prescription for medication under this [law], the attending physician shall verify that the patient is making an informed decision.
The proposal also provides immunity from criminal, civil or professional penalties for health care providers who follow the law.