Life & Death Decision: Massachusetts Voters Weigh Doctor-Assisted Suicide

Voting on Assisted Suicide

Massachusetts, the state where Mitt Romney made his name as a governor, has a chance to join Oregon and Washington today in passing controversial legislation to allow doctor-assisted suicide.

The measure would allow people diagnosed with less than six months to live to acquire lethal doses of medication.

On one side of the debate is Dr. Marcia Angell, whose father shot himself to death because of the suffering he was enduring from metastatic prostate cancer in 1988. She believes that had assisted suicide been available, he would’ve lived longer and not made such a drastic decision, making it easier on the family.

Opposing this view is Rosanne Bacon Meade. Her sister-in-law is still battling cancer, 18 months after given a prognosis of having just three months to live. In addition to how often prognoses are wrong, those who oppose the law believe that it could be abused by patients influenced by family members who seek financial gains by ending their lives.

However, supporters insist that safety measures would be implemented, requirement patients to make two oral requests 15 days apart, and a written request signed by two witnesses.

If passed, the state will join Oregon and Washington in the legalization of assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses. According to the Associated Press, last year 103 people in Washington requested the prescriptions and 71 used them, and in Oregon, 114 people got the prescriptions and 70 people used them.

live and let die

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