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On January 20, 2017, bill sponsors Rep. Lou Kafka (H1194) and Sen. Barbara L’Italien (S1125) re-introduced the End of Life Options Act.

On October 26, 2016, Compassion & Choices filed suit in the Massachusetts Superior Court on behalf of two medical doctors asserting that current state law allows physicians to offer terminally ill, mentally capable adults the option of medical aid in dying.

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History

Compassion & Choices has been on the ground working in the state for five years, beginning with a citizen-led ballot initiative in 2012. Although polls were indicating 64% support, this initiative was narrowly defeated by a last-minute influx of extra-state campaign funds directed at massive media scare tactics and criticisms of the proposed legislation not being protective enough and allowing manipulation of the system.  

C&C stepped up our volunteer efforts in MA in the 2013 – 2014 legislative session. We hosted a strong Lobby Day at the State House in Feb 2014, visiting 30 state representatives and senators, including many of our key swing legislators on the Public Health Committee, and delivering 7,000 petition signatures in support of aid in dying. The supporters in attendance represented a variety of professional backgrounds including physicians, social workers, former state legislators and constituents with personal stories.  

The bill was recommended for further review, essentially preventing it from advancing in that session.

The Massachusetts Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act (H 1991) was heard by the Joint Public Health Committee in October 2015. C&C secured 39 co-sponsors for the bill, and over 200 C&C volunteers turned out in support of the bill, with remarkable testimonies provided by more than 30 supporters. The bill was recommended for further review in Summer 2016, essentially preventing the bill from advancing that legislative session.

Polling Data

Purple Insights Survey, February 2014

» Seven out of 10 Massachusetts voters (71%) support a proposal to allow “mentally competent, terminally ill patients with less than six months to live be able to end their life in a humane and dignified manner, using prescription medications they can self-administer.”

For full polling data for Massachusetts, click here.

Resources

Full text H 1991

Learn more about C&C lawsuit in Massachusetts

Boston Globe covers C&C involvement in Massachusetts

/ November 16, 2016

Different States, Different Strategies for Authorizing Aid in Dying as a Compassionate Option

From Maryland to New Mexico, Compassion & Choices staff and volunteers are gearing up for new legislative sessions, many of which begin in January. Compassion & Choices’ (C&C’s) political and policy experts travel the country, visiting with lawmakers in any state who want to advance aid-in-dying legislation, and providing technical assistance and activating C&C supporters […]

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