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May 20, 2022

Massachusetts Weighing Aid-In-Dying Legislation

The Massachusetts legislature is considering two bills that would make it lawful for a person with a terminal illness to choose to end their life. Massachusetts would join ten states and the District of Columbia that allow some form of physician-assisted death. The proposed Massachusetts law, titled the End of Life Options Act, would allow adults with six months or less to live to ask a prescribing provider for medication that would end their lives. The adult must make an initial oral request and then follow up with a written request to end their life at least 15 days later. The adult must be competent to make their own medical decisions, cleared by a mental health professional, and personally able to take the medication.  Once provided with the medication, the adult can choose not to take it. Proponents of the legislation argue that the law would give adults facing a terminal illness control over when and how they die, avoiding pain and suffering during their final days. Opponents of the law believe that it would have a negative effect on people with disabilities who may be more willing to end their lives because of a feeling that they are a burden to others.

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