MEDIA ADVISORY: ASSISTED SUICIDE BILL VOTED ON "FAVORABLY" IN MASSACHUSETTS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HISTORY
Boston, MA - 9 June 2020 -- Last week, the members of the Joint Committee on Public Health voted S.2745 (previously S.1208), "An Act Relative to End of Life Options" favorably out of committee.
This is the first time in history a bill related to physician-assisted suicide (PAS) has cleared its committee assignment.
Patricia Stewart, Esq., executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, and one of the Commonwealth’s leading experts in the legalities of PAS, said: "The bill’s soothing catch phrases can disguise, but they cannot change, the bill’s ugly reality, which is the intentional ending of a human life in secret. We cannot permit this dangerous policy to become law in Massachusetts. The life of our most vulnerable family members and neighbors depend on it."
Difficulties in ensuring Massachusetts’ high standards of patient care, and the impossibility of protecting at-risk patients from abuse, have plagued this version of the bill and its predecessors. Citizens and legislators have shelved it repeatedly, while out-of-state suicide advocates have lobbied it back onto the agenda again and again.
Dr. Mark Rollo, MCFL board member and family physician in Fitchburg, MA, highlighted the bill’s perils in an automated call reaching citizens across the state.
State sanctioned suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer. The American Medical Association has strongly rejected it. Physicians make mistakes. No law can include a safe guard for this simple fact.
- Elder abuse will be exacerbated via potential coercion to take suicide pills.
- Insurance companies will have an incentive to cut costs by denying expensive care and approving the affordable solution of suicide.
- The COVID-19 pandemic elicited discussion of rationing of care, putting people with disabilities and the elderly at the end of the line. The same logic can be applied to assisted suicide.
- Recent mass protests have reminded us that minorities still suffer from discrimination. Inevitably the poor and people of color will be steered toward suicide.
MCFL, in its mission to protect and respect the lives of every individual human being in Massachusetts, continues to oppose this bill and this week encouraged its members to contact their state representatives. The response has been tremendous.
"There is nothing more painful than witnessing a loved one face the challenges that often accompany the end of life. Yet there is nothing more precious than the human life itself," said Myrna Maloney Flynn, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. "And so there is never too much energy or care we can expend when it comes to seeing our laws reflect that truth. This bill is deeply flawed, whatever your stance on the issue, and will endanger our at-risk neighbors and family. There are far more meaningful and humane end-of-life options our society should promote, namely palliative care and hospice services.”
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