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Massachusetts Considers New Push for Assisted Suicide

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State hears testimony in wake of California's passage of similar bill

When Massachusetts voters turned back a referendum to allow physician-assisted suicide in 2012, they did so only by a narrow margin.

Now, proponents want to see if they can overcome that slight opposition.

State lawmakers heard testimony Wednesday on a proposal that would allow terminally ill adults, with a prognosis of fewer than six months to live, the option of voluntarily ending their life through a prescribed life-ending drug, 22News reported. According to the bill, which is in committee, patients would have to self-administer the drug. Before receiving the prescription, patients would first have to speak with a counselor to make sure they’re of sound mind.

Opponents of such measures argue that a doctor’s prognosis isn’t always accurate, the news outlet pointed out. “Thousands of Americans every year graduate from hospice, meaning they outlive the six months diagnosis,” said John Kelly of Second Thoughts Massachusetts.

Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana all allow for legalized suicide. Some observers believe that California’s recent passage of a physician-assisted suicide measure, albeit concluded stealthily in a specially-called session this summer, encourages proponents of the practice in other states.

But opponents in California are collecting signatures to put the bill up for a referendum in November 2016.

 

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