By Alex Schadenberg, executive director
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
An article published yesterday on Boston.com was entitled “Waltham mayor, councilors say they will all vote ‘no’ to physician-assisted suicide ballot question.” This article is one of many that have quoted Massachusetts politicians of every political stripe stating that they are voting no on (assisted suicide) Ballot Question 2.
The article that was written by Jaclyn Reiss states:
Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy and all 15 city councilors are saying that they will vote against November’s ballot question that would allow for physician-assisted suicide, and are imploring other Massachusetts residents to do the same.
Waltham’s leaders said in a statement that they oppose the bill’s language, which allows for physician-assisted suicide without consulting a psychiatrist, notifying family members, or having a doctor present during the act itself.
“The proposed law is flawed,” McCarthy wrote in the statement, which was released by city councilor Diane LeBlanc. “It does not provide for family or medical oversight at a most vulnerable time in a person’s life.”
The bill would allow terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to seek a prescription for life-ending medication after seeing two different doctors. Participation by physicians is voluntary, and the doctors can require the patient to see a psychologist if they see fit.
However, LeBlanc said in the statement that she felt the law has limitations, and that she was troubled that the ballot question has not been debated.
“It is important that those who have examined it closely, and see the very serious flaws and lack of protections, speak out,” she wrote. “If people take a hard look at this law – even those who support assisted suicide should vote no.”
Edmund Tarallo, ward two councilor, wrote that he wished the measure required a physician to be present during the medication’s administration, while ward seven councilor Joseph Giordano said the patient should require more overseeing.
“It is just wrong that a mental health evaluation is not required and that there is no requirement to let a family member know that you plan to take a lethal dose of medication that will kill you,” Giorano wrote.
The statement lists several organizations that also oppose the legislation, including the Massachusetts Medical Society and the American Medical Association.
The Waltham mayor and councilors have “hit the nail on the head.” After analysing Question 2, it becomes clear that the ballot question is flawed and will lead to abuse.
Over the past several years there has been more than 100 attempts to legalize assisted suicide through a state legislature, each attempt failed due to the lack of effective safeguards.
Assisted suicide is simply not safe.
Editor’s note. This appeared on Mr. Schadenberg’s blog.