Second Thoughts MassachusettsWe are Massachusetts residents with disabilities who oppose the legalization of assisted suicide. In November, 2012, we helped defeat Question 2 on the state ballot. Likewise, advocates defeated a legislative attempt to legalize assisted suicide in the spring of 2014. Second Thoughts Massachusetts continues to be active in the Northeast region.
UK Bill to Committee, Fight Goes on!
Detailed Analysis of Bill in the Fall
As expected, the House of Lords referred the assisted suicide bill HL 6 to the "Committee Stage," where it will be analyzed line by line. While Not Dead Yet UK worked with allies to to create a huge demonstration at Parliament, John Kelly sent an open letter to the House of Lords outlining the disability rights opposition to assisted suicide. Not Dead Yet USA issued an accompanying press release describing our advocacy efforts. Not Dead USA Press Release
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.
Second Thoughts to testify against H 1998
Second Thoughts director John Kelly said "This dangerous bill enables a doctor to misdiagnose you as terminal, decide that your depression doesn’t impair your judgment, and give you a prescription on the same day."
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: firstname.lastname@example.org;
- The Boston Herald: email@example.com
- The Springfield Republican: firstname.lastname@example.org, "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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