Beacon Hill Hearings on Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Bills Set for Sept. 26

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A hearing on S.1225/H.1194 the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act, which would legalize doctor-prescribed suicide despite the will of the votes expressed in the defeat of Question 2 in 2012, is scheduled for Tuesday, September 26, 10:30am, at the State House in Room A 1-2. All pro-lifers are urgently requested to attend to show the Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Health that Massachusetts still rejects DPS.

  To get to Hearing Room A-1 & A-2 at the State House
  1. If you're coming from Park Street T stop, walk up Park St., turn right on Beacon, and then left on Bowdoin
  2. Approach the Ashburnton Plaza entrance from Bowdoin Street.
  3. Proceed through the Ashburnton Plaza Entrance.
  4. Pass through the security checkpoint.
  5. Straight ahead, take the elevator up to Floor 1.
  6. Exit the elevator. Hearing Room A-1 & A-2 will be to your immediate right.
CLICK HERE for an animated map of the entrance

Rep. Louis Kafka has introduced a version of this bill each year since 2009. It would allow doctors to prescribe suicide pills to terminally ill patients with “six months to live”, but doesn’t address all the same concerns about coercion of patients, the imprecision of terminal diagnoses and time to live, and the rest.

If passed, this bill would place the elderly, infirm, sick, disabled, and vulnerable at grave risk and radically change the nature of our healthcare system. The bill’s sponsoring organization, Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society), recently moved Massachusetts to the top of its priority list. H.1194 has 45 sponsors this session, up from 39 in the last session, while S.1225 has 11 sponsors.

Among the many problems with S.1225 and H.1194, the doctor-prescribed suicide bills:

  • There is no required waiting period between a person’s request for lethal drugs and receiving the deadly prescription.
  • The actual death may occur in secret. There are no witnesses or medical professional required to be present when the patient takes the dose. There is no way to be sure of what happened or if the dose was taken of the patient’s own free will.
  • There is no required reporting of suicide requests. This means that if there is suspicion of coercion or deception involved it could only be investigated by the authorities after the fact.
  • The bill calls for a terminal diagnosis for the patient with a prognosis of six months or fewer left to live. This is an extremely flawed standard. All of us know someone who has survived a prognosis by weeks, months, years, or even decades.
  • While the bill claims that healthcare providers are not required to participate in a suicide, those who refuse to participate must provide a referral to a physician who will write a lethal prescription, thus facilitating the act.

These bills are dangerous for poor people, for sick people, for disabled people, for elderly people, and for minority people!

What You Can Do:

  1. Come to the hearing on September 26. While you are welcome to give testimony, even if you're just present you represent hundreds or thousands of others who oppose these bills who couldn't come. 
  2. If you cannot attend, write up your testimony and send it to action@masscitizensforlife.org so we can submit it to the committee. Use these resources on Doctor-Prescribed Suicide to inform your testimony. We suggest you follow these guidelines, whether you plan to give oral or written testimony to the Committee.
  3. Call the Committee Chairs, Sen. Jason Lewis, 617-722-1206, and Rep. Kate Hogan, 617-722-2130, to register your opposition to your bills. Legislators have told us that it only takes a relatively small number of phone calls to let them know what their constituents think about a bill so every call is vital!
  4. Share with your family and friends and ask them to do the same.

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