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Representative Lou Kafka and Senator Barbara L’Italien File End of Life Options Act

Compassion & Choices thanked Representative Lou Kafka and Senator Barbara L’Italien today for filing the End of Life Options Act that would give terminally ill, mentally capable adults diagnosed with 6 months or less to live the option, if they wish, to obtain a prescription from their doctor to self-administer a medication that will provide them with a peaceful death.

“We are very grateful to Representative Kafka and Senator L’Italien for honoring their constituents’ wishes by enacting this legislation,” said Marie Manis, Massachusetts Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices. “Every terminally ill adult should have the freedom and liberty to make their own decisions about how they want to die in comfort and peace, in consultation with their family, physicians and spiritual leaders.”

Over the next two weeks, Representatives and Senators will be signing onto the bill as co-sponsors.  It will then be assigned to a committee before moving forward in this legislative session.

“I first filed aid in dying legislation in 2009 at the request of a constituent, Mr. Al Lipkind, who was dying from stomach cancer.  There was no cure for him, and he was going to die, but he wanted the option to do it on his terms.  Al died that year, and thanks to him and the many others who shared with me their stories over the years, I have only grown more passionate about this important issue,” stated Representative Lou Kafka.  “Ultimately, Al did not have this option; I do not know if in the end he would have chosen it, but it is a choice that he and others like him should have had.  We can’t sit in judgement of those in such personal pain; everyone must be allowed to make their own choice in accordance with their own beliefs.”

“I am a strong believer that every person should have the power to control and make decisions regarding his or her own body, and that autonomy should not end when one reaches the end of his or her life. We owe it to those who are faced with terminal and painful illnesses to allow them to make the choice to finish life with dignity, grace, and minimal suffering.” Said Senator Barbara L’Italien. “I am honored to file this bill in the Senate and to work with Rep. Kafka, who has advocated for this issue so passionately for the past 8 years.”

Polls show that 70 percent of Massachusetts voters support aid in dying, and that number continues to grow. Opinion polls, letters to the editor and a growing citizen movement all signal that people across the Commonwealth want the option of aid in dying for mentally capable, terminally ill adults. Similar laws have been enacted in six states across the nation, including Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont — with 21 states filing aid in dying legislation in 2017.