Second Thoughts - People with Disabilities Opposing the Legalization of Assisted Suicide

Second Thoughts Massachusetts

photo of statue of the thinker We are Massachusetts residents with disabilities who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide, and any support for the death of disabled people. We organized in 2012 to help defeat Massachusetts assisted suicide referendum Question 2, helped stop Bill H. 1998 in 2014, and have continued the fight against assisted suicide throughout New England.

Massachusetts Assisted Suicide Bill Assigned to Public Health Committee

Oregon-style Bill H 1991 Has 39 Co-Sponsors

As part of a national campaign to introduce assisted suicide legislation in about half the states, proponents are making another try at legalizing the practice in Massachusetts. Efforts failed by referendum in 2012 and again in the legislature in 2014, as progressive disability rights groups, the Massachusetts Medical Association, hospice and palliative care professionals, faith-based groups, and strong majorities in communities of color turned back the bills.

Bill H. 1991 is similar to the previous bills and is modeled on the Oregon law. The bill can be easily downloaded as a PDF file.

The bill has been assigned to the Joint Committee On Public Health, under the new leadership of Senate chair Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) and House Chair Kate Hogan (D-Stow).

Representative Louis L. Kafka of Stoughton is, as usual, the lead sponsor. He is joined by 38 cosponsors, a number which presents a challenge to opponents. But like the so many other assisted suicide bills, this one is very defeatable.

So far this year, in legislature after legislature, assisted suicide bills have stalled or been rejected. Bills have been rejected in Maryland, Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, and are stalled and in danger of defeat in New Jersey and Connecticut, where sister group Second Thoughts Connecticut and its allies dominated a recent hearing.


As always, the best resources are at the website for Not Dead Yet and the The Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund.
See especially Not Dead Yet's Legislative Toolkit for information on how to advocate against legalization in state legislatures.


If this bill passes, some people’s lives will be ended without their consent, through mistakes and abuse. No safeguards have ever been enacted or proposed that can prevent this outcome, which can never be undone. – Marilyn Golden

Important past stories on Second Thoughts/ Question 2

"Suicide by Choice? Not so Fast" All Things Considered

John Kelly versus Marcia Angell Part I on Radio Boston

John Kelly versus Marcia Angell,Part II on Morning Edition with Bob Oakes

Personal Side of the Story

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