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The Massachusetts Medical Society recently voted to rescind their opposition to medical aid in dying, instead adopting a policy of engaged neutrality.

On September 26, 2017, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Health held a hearing for the End of Life Options Act introduced by Rep. Lou Kafka (H1194) and Sen. Barbara L’Italien (S1225).In September 2017, the Massachusetts Joint Public Health Committee held a hearing to examine the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act. Despite public support, the Committee did not move the bill this year.

With the support of our incredible volunteer force, we are determined to pass a law in the Massachusetts. If you’d like to join an action team click here to get started.

 

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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 1194

Learn more about C&C lawsuit in Massachusetts

Boston Globe covers C&C involvement in Massachusetts

/ December 19, 2017

Lexington Becomes 5th Jurisdiction in Massachusetts to Endorse Medical Aid in Dying, Group Reports

Compassion & Choices commended the Lexington Board of Selectmen for voting to endorse the End of Life Options Act (H.1194/S.1225). The vote makes Lexington the fifth jurisdiction to endorse medical aid in dying, which gives mentally capable, terminally ill Massachusetts adult residents with six months or less to live the option to end unbearable suffering. […]

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/ December 12, 2017

Massachusetts Medical Society Drops Opposition to Medical Aid in Dying

Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) dropped its longtime opposition to legislation that would authorize medical aid in dying in the state. The decision followed a year-long process of debate and deliberation by the society, including a survey of its membership, which found that 62 percent of respondents supported current aid-in-dying legislation, the […]

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/ December 4, 2017

Mass. Medical Society Drops Opposition to Medical Aid in Dying

Compassion & Choices praised the Massachusetts Medical Society for dropping its longtime opposition to legislation giving terminally ill patients the option of medical aid in dying to peacefully end unbearable suffering. The society’s House of Delegates voted to adopt a new position of “neutral engagement” on Saturday, one day after the release on Friday of […]

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