North End residents voting on November 6 will have the option to vote for or against a ballot measure regarding physician prescribed and assisted suicide. It is, obviously, an important ballot question as it goes to the core of how we view life and what we are prepared to do to stop unnecessary suffering and how all this conflicts with our religious views and our morality and it also includes a bit of politics as the question is being decided on the ballot at the same time as we vote for president.
Presently, it is against the law for an assisted suicide to take place. It is against the law for doctor-prescribed suicide as well.
Question 2 made it to the ballot after nearly 70,000 registered voters signed petitions seeking the measure to be placed on the ballot. The legal language was approved by Attorney General Martha Coakley. She certified the initiative petition.
Many who favor the initiative refer to it as the Death with Dignity Act.
There have been four legislative attempts to permit doctor-prescribed suicide since 1995 in Massachusetts. They all failed.
The ballot question is all about the right to die.
Supporters add that it is about the right to die with dignity, to lessen the pain and suffering that comes with the prospect of certain death among those who are terminally ill.
Those against it are opposed to giving anyone the right to determine whether or not an ill patient lives or dies. It is believed that allowing doctors to assist in ending life that a door will be opened for families to be making decisions about loved ones that should not be allowed – that the natural course of our lives ending in death – whether painful or not – is our lot on this earth and shouldn’t be toyed with in any way.
As distasteful as it might be, there is an economic piece to this ballot question.
It is well known that most families pay out the largest amount of money for their loved ones as they are near to death. In some cases, the terminally ill person dying and their families are left with extraordinary bills when everything that can be done to keep them alive leads only to life without the attributes that makes it worth living.
Many who are dying ask to be relieved of their suffering while others even facing terminal illness want to fight for every moment left to them.
Question 2 is not a battle for medical ethicists and philosophers. It is a battle for voters to determine whether or not assisted suicide should be allowed in the state of Massachusetts.
Make sure you vote.
This is an important question that goes to the very depths of our beliefs.