The other side came with a group of out-of-town hired guns and a large group of supporters to fill the seats. Our side came prepared to give testimony that was by turns logical and touching, that dealt with science and the law, and that came from doctors, ethicists, community leaders, and average people who spanned a broad spectrum of society and of political viewpoint.
On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health held a public hearing on S.1225/H.1194 The Massachusetts End of Life Options Act, which would legalize doctor-prescribed suicide. Massachusetts has been targeted by the well-funded pro-suicide national organization Compassion and Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) as a top priority for legalization and so they brought in a large team of staff from out of state and filled the hall with their supporters, even setting up a refreshment table outside the hearing for them. They even flew in Brittany Maynard’s husband, Dan Diaz.
But when it came to testimony, there was a 180 degree shift. Overwhelmingly, the testimony was against DPS and in favor of real, loving care. At least 80 percent of the testimony came from pro-lifers opposed to DPS, including many medical doctors. We want to thank especially Dr. Bill Lawton, who assembled many of the very impressive doctors; Dr. Mark Rollo, who was the backbone of yesterday's success; and Dr. Warren Toffler of Physicians for Compassionate Care, who flew in from Oregon to gently explain the awful situation there.
Groups who were represented included the Mass. Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide, Mass. Medical Society, Second Thoughts, Americans United for Life, Mass. Catholic Conference, Mass. Family Institute, Gordon-Conwell Seminary, Witnesses for Life, and the Seymour Institute.
There was even a self-described “anti-imperialist revolutionary” testifying against the bill! We really do have broad-based support.
The committee has until March to vote on the bill, so we don’t expect results immediately. And while after yesterday, it is easy to think the pro-suicide lobby is dispirited, that is not the case. They are well-funded nationally and ultimately they expect to win in court. If not, they have a well-paid staff and grassroots activists to buy a ballot question win. Yesterday was simply a calm before the storm.
This is why Massachusetts Citizens for Life needs your support more than ever. If DPS is ever legalized here, we will have opened a door that we will have greatly difficulty closing again. The meager protections offered by the current bill—as weak as they are—even those will get rolled back and too soon we will be faced with the horrors we see in the Netherlands.
If you are not yet a member of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, please become a member today. If you are a member, please make a donation to support our important work as leaders in the fight to protect life in Massachusetts. And please spread the word, share this news with your friends and family in person, through email or on social media, and encourage them to get involved.