Monday, October 29, 2012

New Lowell Sun - Reject Question 2 (assisted suicide)

The New Lowell Sun is the latest of several newspapers who are supporting the "No Side" on ballot Question 2 (assisted suicide) in Massachusetts. The other newspapers include: The Salem News, The Worchester Telegram, The Boston Herald, The Bay State Banner, The Cape Cod Times and the New Bedford Standard Times. 

The following is the position of the New Lowell Sun that was published on October 29 under the title: Vote on the side of life and reject Question 2.

Aside from races on the national, state and local levels, voters in Massachusetts on Nov. 6 will be able to weigh in on two important ballot questions. 
The more emotionally charged of the two is Question 2, which would allow a licensed Massachusetts physician to prescribe medication, at a qualified terminally ill patient's request, to end that person's life. 
Better known by its backers as the "Death with Dignity" initiative, it may seem at first glance to be a compassionate alternative for those deemed beyond the reach of medical science whose death can be calculated in months. 
Proponents say the measure contains sufficient safeguards to prevent any abuse.
Proponents say this is a humane way to allow a small number of terminally ill people an opportunity to spend what quality time they have remaining at home with loved ones, instead of in a hospital or hospice facility, sparing them unnecessary suffering. 
The drug would be dispensed directly to the patient, who would ingest the lethal dose in a private location, preferably at home, hopefully in someone's presence.
But the question doesn't mandate that anyone witness the patient's death. 
While ostensibly reasonable and humane, we believe Question 2 has the potential for misuse, a position also taken by the Massachusetts Medical Society, which opposes the initiative. 
Its main objections include potential for abuse, current laws already in place that allow patients to refuse life-prolonging treatment, the difficulty in predicting death within a six-month time frame, and the basic proposition that doctors should not be participating in assisted suicide. 
It's also obvious that most who believe in the sanctity of life, including the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, Massachusetts Family Institute and the Catholic Church, are opposed on moral grounds. 
The fact that similar life-ending laws only exist in two states, Washington (2008) and Oregon (1997), should add credence that this momentous step must be reviewed thoroughly and thoughtfully. 
After doing just that, we believe for all the reasons stated, despite what the polls suggest, there are enough questions about Question 2 to seal its defeat. 
Vote no on Question 2.

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