Second ThoughtsWe are Massachusetts residents with disabilities who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. Last November, 2012, we helped defeat Question 2 on the state ballot, which would have legalized assisted suicide. Second Thoughts celebrates the recent rejection of assisted suicide in Connecticut, and is now working against the assisted suicide initiative in the Vermont House.
John Kelly testifies in Vermont
Vermont Committee Hears Testimony Against Assisted Suicide
In testimony before the Vermont House Human Services Committee, Second Thoughts director John Kelly said that no possible assisted suicide bill could protect vulnerable people.
ASSISTED SUICIDE IS BAD MEDICINE
- Deadly Mix: Assisted suicide is a deadly mix with a profit-driven healthcare system. Pressure to cut costs, delays in treatment and limited coverage for home care can lead patients, families and doctors to choose the cheapest alternative, even if that is assisted suicide.
- Self-determination: Assisted suicide is unnecessary because current law gives every person the right to refuse lifesaving treatment, and to have adequate pain relief, including palliative sedation to die in your sleep. Assisted suicide decreases self-determination by giving doctors and insurers the power not just to cure, but to kill.
- Abuse: The proposed law is a recipe for elder abuse. An heir can be a witness and help sign someone up, and once a lethal drug is in the home, no one will know how the drug is administered. If the person struggled, who would know?
- 1 in 10 Massachusetts elders is abused, an increase of 31% in the last three years.
- The law does not prohibit other people – even an heir – from encouraging assisted suicide or "helping" a person make the request.
- Once the prescription is filled, nothing prevents another person from administering the dosage.
- Safeguards: A lack of safeguards and oversight in the proposed law puts people at risk of misdiagnosis, deprivation of treatment and economic pressure to choose suicide, while protecting doctors from liability.
- No mental health evaluation is required for depression or other treatable cause of suicidal feelings.
- If a doctor refuses lethal drugs, the patient or family simply can—and do—find another doctor (“doctor shopping”).
- “Terminal condition” and “death within six months” are often misdiagnosed, opening the dangers of assisted suicide to many who are not terminally ill.
- Nothing in the law can offer protection when family pressures, whether financial or emotional, distort patient choice.
- The law does not include enforcement provisions, investigation authority, oversight or data verification. The only foolproof safeguard is for the prescribing doctors. The law holds doctors only to a “good faith” standard, which makes any safeguards unenforceable.
- Discrimination: A law that singles out some people (such as old, ill and disabled people) for assisted suicide instead of suicide prevention is not in step with Massachusetts' progressive tradition as a leader against discrimination.
THE BOSTON GLOBE SAYS "NO" TO QUESTION 2
In a surprising move, the Boston Globe has taken a position against Question 2 in this editorial.
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SUFFOLK POLL FINDS Q2 SUPPORT FALLING
The Lowell Sun is reporting on a Suffolk University poll that shows support for assisted suicide dropping below 50%.
EZEKIEL J. EMANUEL NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED
A recent op-ed in the New York Times by Ezekiel Emanuel describes how problems with assisted suicide in Oregon could happen in Massachusetts.
DR. IRA BYOCK IN THE ATLANTIC
"Physician Assisted Suicide is Not Progressive" is the title of an excellent article by Dr. Ira Byock of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire in the latest edition of the Atlantic. You can read it
Keep watching the website for updates to our blog, Advocacy Resources, Articles, news and upcoming events. And for your listening and viewing enjoyment, check out the Euthanasia Blues (Lyrics by Norman Kunc, Music by Bob Nelson).
WRITE YOUR LETTERS!
Letters to the editor are especially important now. Here are the e-mail addresses for some major newspapers in Massachusetts.
- The Boston Globe: email@example.com;
- The Boston Herald: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Springfield Republican: email@example.com, "Letters to
Second Thoughts / Question 2 in the news
- Ben Matlin has an op-ed in the New York Times of November 1 entitled "Suicide by Choice? Not so Fast"
- 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
- Extensive coverage on Boston Public Radio Station WBUR:
-- John Kelly versus Marcia Angell I on Radio Boston
-- John versus Marcia Angell, II on Morning Edition with Bob Oakes
For more reporting on Question 2 and Second Thoughts, visit our IN THE NEWS page.
For more Second Thoughts about the legalization of assisted suicide, see Food for Thought page.
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