Massachusetts assisted suicide bill may force doctors to refer for assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Massachusetts doctors are actively opposing the bill to legalize assisted suicide.

Last week Dr. Tom Sullivan, a former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, along with 20 other physicians, urged lawmakers in Massachusetts to oppose the assisted suicide bill that provides no conscience protection for doctors who oppose assisted suicide.

Bill Morris, in writing for the Washington Free Beacon wrote:

The current bill includes no such protections, which would force any doctor in the state to refer patients seeking assisted suicide to a willing physician. A Massachusetts Medical Society spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon that the current bill language will not alter the stance of the society. Some doctors are upset at their refusal to lobby for protections for members who do not agree with the practice.

Massachusetts primary care doctor Mark Rollo told the Washington Free Beacon:

“This is not giving the patient the right to die. It is giving the doctor the right to kill,”

“We are mandated by this current bill to transfer a patient to someone else. I don’t want to be complicit in killing a patient.”

Rollo, a former Air Force doctor, also stated:

“The legislature should not feel comfortable passing this because it’s encouraging people to die and feel like they’re a burden—their ‘right to die’ soon becomes a duty to die.”

A recent court decision in Canada will force doctors to directly refer patients for assisted death.

In May 2017, a Vermont court upheld physicians’ conscience rights after Vermont physicians were pressured to directly refer patients for assisted suicide.

The assisted suicide ballot Question 2 in Massachusetts was defeated in November 2012.