Posted at: 10/05/2012 5:56 PM
| Updated at: 10/05/2012 6:41 PM
By: Benita Zahn
MASSACHUSETTS - It's not just politicians Massachusetts voters will be selecting this November.
They're also being asked to make a decision on a controversial issue - the death with dignity act - on the ballot as Question 2.
Katy Miller, is on the board of the Massachusettes Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, and a proponent of Question 2 - the Massachusettes Death with Dignity law. If approved the bay state would become the 1st East Coast State and only the 3rd state in the US with such a law, a law Miller says is tightly constructed and only applicable to someone who is diagnosed, by two doctors, as being terminally ill - having less than 6 months to live:
“If they make that request, ah, there are multiple safeguards. They have to make the request, no one else can make it for them. They have to make the request multiple times. Two doctors must find them competent to be making this decision. “
And doctors can opt out of providing the medication.
Not good enough says John Kelly, a disability rights advocate with the organization Second Thoughts.
Kelly says, in our cost saving environment, he fears people might end their lives, or be encouraged to do so, to save money or get an inheritance into the hands of heirs, sooner. And he has other concerns with how this law is written:
“Without a psychiatric consultation, with all the problems with diagnosis, with the ah, lack of of witness being required to be present, there are just too many problems with it. “
Sue Dessayer Porter is with compassion and choices, a national organization supporting death with dignity laws. She explains that the deadly cocktail is 4 ounces of liquid. And while she applauds the movement in Massachusettes she also encourages people to learn about the proposed law. After all, whether you approve or disapprove, like the law, it's about your choice.
Since Oregon's law went on the books in 1997, 935 people requested the drugs, 596 used them.
In Washington, where the death with dignity law was approved in 2008 - 103 prescriptions have been written, 70 people used the life ending barbiturate.