Saturday, November 3, 2012 says Vote NO on Question 2 (assisted suicide).

The following position on ballot Question 2 (assisted suicide) was published in a free paper that is distributed throughout Boston. The article is excellent.

On November 6, voters will decide whether physician-prescribed suicide will become law in Massachusetts. Real lives are at risk! The stakes are too high for responsible persons to remain on the sidelines.

It is important that voters understand how the proposed law would work, and not inadvertently make mistakes about so vital an issue. It would be a mistake to think that the referendum only affects patients who are in physical pain from degenerative diseases. In fact, it affects a much wider population of vulnerable patients.

It would be a mistake to think that advances in hospice care and palliative medicine have not already made the dying process more compassionate than it has ever been in history of the world.

It would be a mistake to think that the referendum does not shockingly increase the risk of abuse to elders. Such abuse takes many forms – physical, emotional and financial! Many elders do not have loving families and/or a circle of friends to advocate for them. Massachusetts had 19,500 reported cases of elder abuse in 2011. A major state-wide study has suggested that there are 23.5 unreported cases for every one reported case!

It would be a mistake to think that there would be any oversight at the time the lethal drugs are administered. There are no protections for the patient once the lethal prescription is filled. If it is wrongfully administered by a person who would benefit financially by the death, who would know?

It would be a mistake to think that physicians can predict whether life will end within six months. Statistics show that such predictions are wrong almost 20% of the time.

It would be a mistake to think that patients suffering from depression would not elect death without knowing that their condition is treatable. The referendum does not require counseling from any psychiatrist or mental health professional.

It would be a mistake to think that the referendum would not increase the Massachusetts suicide rate, including that of teenagers!

It would be a mistake to think that physician-prescribed suicide is favored by American people. Thirty-four (34) states have passed laws against it, and the United States Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the rights of states to prohibit it.

It would be a mistake not to follow the recommendations of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and the American Medical Society, both of whom oppose the referendum.

Finally, it would be a mistake not to acknowledge that insurance companies, hospitals and governmental medical providers have a clear and compelling financial interest in denying us adequate end-of-life care.

Let’s not make a mistake by passing this bill and putting vulnerable people at greater risk. Let’s vote NO on Question Two.

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