SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 13, 2012

Column: Vote no on Question 2

(Continued)

More troubling is the fact that the state could be creating a whole new set of medical boundaries. The right to die is already embedded in Massachusetts law to the extent that it should be. All patients have the right to refuse treatment for any terminal illness. The right to palliative sedation allows patients to avoid suffering during death by medically induced unconsciousness without assisting suicide. If Question 2 passes, a precedent will be set that runs counter to our right to life.

Death with Dignity would make “terminally ill” adults with six or less months to live eligible for a lethal prescription. However, timetables set by doctors for terminally ill patients are far from exact and, often, patients are misdiagnosed. Patients may commit suicide based on false medical advice.

Finally, if Death with Dignity passes, patients will be at greater risk to predatory insurance practices. A similar law exists in Oregon and studies have shown that, as Popik points out, “Not one person has requested suicide because he or she was in pain. In fact ... the predominate motive is fear of becoming a burden.” There is no provision in the Death with Dignity act that addresses the cost of physician-assisted suicide compared to the cost of treatment. Given the option of assisted suicide, insurance companies may limit other treatments to cut cost. This means that patients, when weighing treatment options, may be influenced to commit suicide by insurance providers.

Death with Dignity deserves public consideration in Massachusetts but the initiative that will appear on the 2012 ballot is not ready to be passed. Question 2 is underdeveloped and leaves too much room for mistreatment and exploitation of the terminally ill.

---

Anthony Speranza is a Swampscott resident.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion

AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Comments Tracker
Roll Call
Helium debate
Helium