Massachusetts Question 2: Opposition to the Death and Dying Initiative
With the election just around the corner, many ballot questions throughout the United States are extremely controversial and one of these issues is evident in the state of Massachusetts. On November 6th, 2012, the citizens of Massachusetts will be asked to vote on the “Death with Dignity” initiative, also known as, “Question 2” which will appear on the general election ballot. This initiative is a law which will enable those who are diagnosed with a terminal illness, to obtain lethal prescription medications and use them as a more comfortable, controlled means of death. An option provided to these terminally ill people as an alternative to the drawn out and unbearably painful final months of life produced by their illness. A more specific description of the initiative is as follows: “According to the text of the initiative, the proposed measure would allow for a terminally ill patient to be given lethal drugs. A terminally ill patient would be defined as a patient being given six months or fewer to live. The patient requesting the medication must be mentally capable to make medical decisions while consulting their respective doctors. Patients would be required to submit their request orally twice and witnessed in writing, and the initial verbal request must be fifteen days prior to the written request and second oral request. The patient's terminal diagnosis and capability to make health care decisions must be confirmed by a second doctor” (mass.gov). Although, providing such drugs to people who are terminally ill appears to be a good idea there are many problems that must be addressed before the ballot should be passed.
The first problem or question to consider is, how accurate is a doctor’s prognosis concerning a patient who is terminally ill? According to the Massachusetts Medical Society,...