Monday, June 15, 2020

Massachusetts assisted suicide bill may be fast-tracked to a vote.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Sign the petition: Reject Massachusetts Assisted Suicide bill S.1208/H.1926. (Link).

Massachusetts legislature.
The Massachusetts assisted suicide bill S.1208/H.1926 recently passed in the Massachusetts state legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health (note: the bill was amended and is now S.2745).

According to Colin Young, whose article was published by Wicked.com, the bill may be fast-tracked to a vote. According to Young:

The committee said the House and Senate versions were each redrafted with the same language and referred back to their respective chambers. The committee’s redraft lays out requirements that must be met before a patient can receive a lethal dose of medication...

Advocacy group Compassion & Choices and other supporters said the legislation should get votes in the House and Senate as quickly as possible.
In January 2020, Massachusetts Superior Court judge Mary K. Ames in Kligler, et al. v. Healey, et al found that there was no right to assisted suicide in Massachusetts. In her decision she found:
There is also evidence that the problem of competency is particularly acute at the time at which a patient self-administers the medication because patients may be alone or accompanied by those who support his or her end-of-life decision... In such a situation there is a great risk that temporary anger, depression, a misunderstanding of one's prognosis, ignorance of alternatives, financial considerations, strain on family members or significant others, or improper persuasion may impact the decision.
I echo the concerns of the disability rights group Second Thoughts Massachusetts that stated (link to the press release here):
“It is wrong to move a bill at a time when those who will be harmed are on lockdown due to COVID-19, depriving us of the opportunity to fully address in person this threat to our health and well-being”
Decisions to request assisted suicide are made by people who are going through a vulnerable time of their life.
 

Assisted suicide causes death rather than providing needed care.
Link to pamphlet: Five Reasons to Oppose Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

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