Second Thoughts MassachusettsWe 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.
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.
TALKING POINTS –ASSISTED SUICIDE IS BAD MEDICINE
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
- Deadly Mix: Assisted suicide is a deadly mix with our profit-driven healthcare system. At $300, assisted suicide will be the cheapest treatment. Assisted suicide saves insurance companies money.
- Abuse: Abuse of people with disabilities, and elder abuse, are rising. An heir or abusive caregiver may steer someone towards assisted suicide, witness the request, pick up the lethal dose, and even give the drug -- no witnesses are required at the death, so who would know?
- Mistakes: Diagnoses of terminal illness are too often wrong, leading people to give up on treatment and lose good years of their lives.
- Careless: No psychological evaluation is required. People with a history of depression and suicide attempts have received the lethal drugs.
- Burden: Financial and emotional pressures can also make people choose death.
- Unnecessary: Everyone already has the right to refuse treatment and get full palliative care, including, if dying in pain, pain-relieving palliative sedation.
- No true safeguards: The safeguards are hollow, with no enforcement or investigation authority.
- Our quality of life underrated: Society often underrates people with disabilities’ quality of life. Will doctors & nurses fully explore our concerns and fight for our full lives? Will we get suicide prevention or suicide assistance?
Important past stories on Second Thoughts/ Question 2
- Ben Matlin has an op-ed in the New York Times of November 1 entitled
- Dr. Kerry Pound in the Salem News, physician's perspective
- Boston Phoenix article Killing with Kindness by S.I. Rosenbaum
- Second Thoughts steering committee member Eileen Feldman in the Somerville Journal.
- No to Question 2, editorial in the Providence Journal editorial by Second Thoughts.
- Victoria Reggie Kennedy's article opposing Question 2 entitled "We are better than that" reprinted widely throughout Massachusetts.
- Rep. Angelo Scaccia, D-Readville, vice chair of Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse Opposes assisted suicide
- American Nurses Association draft statement opposing assisted suicide
- Green-Rainbow party local leader Grace Ross examines the carelessness of Question 2 with lethal drugs in this article
- Letter Against Question 2, advocating suicide prevention .
- Extensive coverage on Boston Public Radio Station WBUR:
John Kelly versus Marcia Angell Part I on Radio Boston
John Kelly versus Marcia Angell,Part II on Morning Edition with Bob Oakes