End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Massachusetts Votes ‘No’ on ‘Death With Dignity’ Actby Sonja

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by Steve Annear
BostInno
November 7, 2012

A measure to legalize physician-assisted suicide and allow sick patients to end their own lives didn’t garner the support of Bay State voters on Election Night. However, the votes were so close that proponents of the measure didn’t concede until the next morning.

In a statement Wednesday morning, supporters of ballot Question 2, known as the “Death With Dignity Act,” said regrettably, they “fell short.”

“For the past year, the people of Massachusetts participated in an open and honest conversation about allowing terminally-ill patients the choice to end their suffering,” the campaign said in a statement. “The Death with Dignity Act offered the terminally-ill the right to make that decision for themselves, but regrettably, we fell short. Our grassroots campaign was fueled by thousands of people from across this state, but outspent five to one by groups opposed to individual choice.”

The final results of the vote on Question 2 were announced Wednesday morning. The “Death With Dignity Act,” which aimed at allowing a physician licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication to a terminally ill patient to end their own life, lost 49% to 51%, according to election results.

In Massachusetts, 1,439,785 voters were against the proposal, while 1,382,651 supported the measure. In Boston, however, voters didn’t share the same sentiment as the rest of the Commonwealth. Hub voters favored the act, with 111,852 of those registered casting a “Yes” vote, compared to 107,377 who voted “No.”

“Even in defeat, the voters of Massachusetts have delivered a call to action that will continue and grow until the terminally-ill have the right to end their suffering,” backers of Question 2 said on Wednesday.

In the Bay State, while there were staunch supporters of the measure being pushed through, equally, there was some pushback.

Opposition, including the group “No on Question 2,” cited early on in the campaign season concerns including public safety oversight if the lethal drug were to be disseminated.

While voters didn’t give support to the bill to end peoples’ suffering, they did support a measure to ease patients’ pain.

Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly supported Question 3 on the ballot on Election Night,which will legalize medicinal marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe the drug to patients with debilitating diseases.