To the editor:
It is crunch time to let our state representatives know that we want to have a dignified death when we are suffering from a terminal illness. This is possible with physician aid-in-dying. Massachusetts is closer than ever to passing the End of Life Options Act (H.1926/S.1208) that is currently being considered by the Joint Committee on Public Health. There was a Feb. 5 deadline to vote and pass this bill and this has been extended to Wednesday, April 1. This is a good sign for those of us in favor of having such legislation passed in Massachusetts.
A death-with-dignity bill has been legalized in 10 jurisdictions: California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
Those of us who are against having the option of physician aid-in-dying legalized express a concern that such a bill would lack the safeguards needed to withstand abuse and coercion. These concerns are unfounded. Oregon has had its Death with Dignity Act in place since 1997. Here is a link of answers to questions regarding Oregon’s Act, which is similar to the End of Life Options Act being considered in Massachusetts: https://www.oregon.gov/oha/PH/PROVIDERPARTNERRESOURCES/EVALUATIONRESEARCH/DEATHWITHDIGNITYACT/Documents/faqs.pdf
This is a link to the End of Life Options Bill being considered in Massachusetts: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H1926
There have been no abuses of physician aid-in-dying legislation and this includes Oregon, where it has been legal for 23 years.
For those of us who want the option to ask for physician aid-in-dying in our dying time, we can do the following:
Contact your legislators, and urge them to contact Joint Committee on Public Health co-Chair John Mahoney and support passage of H.1926. To find the contact info for your legislators, go to malegislature.gov.
Email the four chair members from the committee. You can send one email including them all; just cut and paste these addresses into your email browser: John.Mahoney@mahouse.gov
The members of the Joint Committee on Public Health need to hear from us before Wednesday, April 1.
Deborah Golden Alecson