Doctors Condemn Massachusetts Suicide Bill

Bill would force every doctor to participate in prescribing lethal medication

The Washington Free Beacon

Bill McMorris

Doctors in Massachusetts are speaking out against a proposal to approve physician-assisted suicide, arguing that its End of Life Options Act could force all doctors to participate in doling out lethal medication and pressure patients into suicide.

On Tuesday, Dr. Tom Sullivan, former president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, led more than 20 physicians into the statehouse to urge lawmakers to oppose a bill that would grant immunity to doctors who help terminal patients kill themselves. . .  the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) overturned its long-standing condemnation of the practice and voted to remain neutral on the legislation.  Sullivan and several other former MMS presidents spoke out against the neutral stance during debate. While they were unsuccessful in swaying the vote, they were able to insert language into the society’s stance, including conscience protections for any doctor who objected to the practice. The current bill includes no such protections . . . [Full text]

One thought on “Doctors Condemn Massachusetts Suicide Bill”

  1. The claim that the bill does not include protections for objecting physicians is not true. There is a protection of conscience provision. Assuming that “participation” includes referral, what the proposed bill proposes is a patient-initiated transfer of care that is the norm in other jurisdictions (except parts of Canada) where euthanasia or assisted suicide is legal. Objecting physicians generally do not object to transferring care to a physician whom the patient has found. However, the text of the bill is ambiguous because Section 4(b)iv implies that physicians are, in fact, expected to refer patients to a willing colleague.

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