Mass to vote on 'Death with Dignity'

Oct. 15, 2012 at 1:19 PM
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BOSTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Massachusetts voters will decide in November whether terminally ill patients should have the option to end their own lives.

The "Death with Dignity" ballot question would allow people nearing the end of life because of sickness to request a prescription for a lethal dose of a drug, The Boston Globe reported Sunday.

Patients with six months or less to live would have to request the prescription three times from their doctor -- twice verbally and once in writing. They would have to take the drug themselves and be deemed capable of making an informed decision.

The referendum is supported by groups such as the AIDS Action Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. The Catholic Church, the state medical society and advocates for the disabled are among opponents.

Critics of "Death with Dignity" say a mental health evaluation would not be required and physician estimates of how much time people have left are not always accurate.

Patient-assisted death is legal in Washington and Oregon. Statistics from those states show that many people who get the drug never take it and others die of the underlying disease before using it, the report said.

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