(The Ballot Questions are getting lost in the excitement over Brown/Warren and Romney/Obama, but on November 6th, the Voters of Massachusetts will decided on a matter of Life and Death. A argument against Question 2. - promoted by Paul R. Ferro)
Barack Obama? Mitt Romney? Scott Brown? Elizabeth Warren? Massachusetts voters have some real choices to make this November when they show up to the ballot box. The most important vote which they will be casting however, is one they might not even know about. On the ballot this November, is a law that would cause Massachusetts to become a state which recognizes "Physician Assisted Suicide".
There is so much that we don't know about what a carefully written law allowing Assisted Suicide might cause here in Massachusetts, but there is even more unknown about what a law with very few safeguards, regulations, and precautions would cause. This is what we are actually considering here in Massachusetts and we should be very troubled by it. With loose wording, loose oversight, and virtually zero safeguards, we are almost promised unintended scenarios and many unfortunate and tragic outcomes.
Perhaps more compelling is why many members of the disabled community are so troubled by this legislation. What message do we send to these people in our lives and communities when we encourage others with similar afflictions (lack of independence, daily physical struggles, feelings of being a burden) to possibly seek to end their own lives. Does that convey that we love them? Does that convey that we honor their dignity and daily struggles? Or does it send the message to them that life is not worth living? For handicapped, elderly, and psychologically ill people already feeling like they might be a burden, this might cause pressure to take their own lives in a tragic unfortunate way. What is worse, is that even their own family and caretakers wouldn't even be allowed to be part of the decision or be notified until it was too late.
What else do we not know? The questions are endless:
How will insurance companies react to such a change in laws?
Would they begin to implement policies to encourage this "more efficient", "less costly" policy?
How will doctors react to such a brazen conflict with their Hippocratic oath to "do no harm"?
How will doctors determine when such a "prescription" is appropriate?
Might such a definition expand with time out of desire for "greater efficiency" and "options'?
There is so much to wonder about what a poorly written law about suicide might cause in our Commonwealth. Perhaps the greatest question we should ask is: Why should we take the chance?
The Author is an advocate for the disabled. Please visit NoOnQuestion2.org for more information.