Local legislators say ‘No on 2′

By Monique Scott, Milford Daily News

Two area legislators have joined the ranks of those opposed to Question 2, or the “Death with Dignity” question, which will appear on the Nov. 6 election ballot.

The question, if approved, would allow physician-assisted suicide in the commonwealth.

“Legalizing physician-assisted suicide in Massachusetts would reverse the progress we have made as a state in improving end-of-life care, treatment and options,” state Sen. Richard Moore, D–Uxbridge, said in a press release.

Moore, chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said the bill is “deeply flawed” because it allows patients to choose to end their lives without notifying family members.

Moore’s other concerns include that a physician is not required to be present when a patient is taking life-ending medication. Also, a patient, he said, could miscalculate the dosage and not end his life, possibly causing more pain to himself.

“End of life decisions are some of the most personal and complex decisions that families must make, and often these decisions are left until the last minute,” Moore said.

Question 2, which was placed on the November ballot after a successful petition drive, would allow terminally ill patients with six months or less to live, to request and receive lethal drugs. If passed, the proposed law would require patients to make two verbal requests that must be witnessed in writing and confirmed by a physician.

Oregon and Washington have passed similar laws. Two polls taken on the issue in late summer showed 60 percent of those surveyed support the measure.

The Committee Against Physician Assisted Suicide is currently running television ads opposing the question. And, a growing number of lawmakers have voiced opposition to the ballot initiative.

The committee maintains the bill could allow depressed patients to take their lives before receiving mental health counseling and treatment and before receiving information about hospice and palliative care.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Hospice and Palliative Care Federation, and the American Medical Directors Association oppose the ballot question.

State Rep. Kevin Kuros, R-Uxbridge, said he opposes Question 2 because without a physician present, life-ending drugs could fall into the wrong hands.

“The number one place where teens get prescription drugs to experiment with is from their home medicine chest,” Kuros said. “I fear the very real possibility of a patient being prescribed the drugs, picking up the prescription, and then changing their mind, leaving the drugs in their home and not under a physician’s supervision. It is a tragic accident waiting to happen.”

Kuros’ opponent in the Nov. 6 election, Democrat Robert Dubois of Blackstone, said the issue is personal and should not be addressed in a ballot question.

“I’ll be voting no,” Dubois said.

Moore and Kuros are two on the growing list of 17 legislators, public officials, health care professionals, religious leaders and concerned voters, opposed to the question.

But one local official, Milford Selectman Bill Buckley said he supports the ballot question.

“What we do with our values is the most fundamental and basic right we have,” he said.

Although he believes those opposed to this bill are out to protect physicians, Buckley said there are bigger issues such as the meningitis outbreak linked to a Framingham company that politicians should focus on.

“Morality has no place in politics,” Buckley said.

But Moore is asking voters to reject the ballot question.

“I urge voters to join me in voting no on Question 2,” he said.

Link to the originial post: http://www.milforddailynews.com/topstories/x1831584504/Local-legislators-say-No-on-2

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