Bill Supporters Urge Legislature to Pass End of Life Act

Massachusetts State House

HYANNIS – A bill that would give terminally ill residents in Massachusetts the option to die peacefully at home with loved ones is currently being debated in state Legislature.

The End of Life Options Act would give dying individuals the option for a peaceful exit with the assistance of healthcare professionals.

Advocates are urging Massachusetts lawmakers to pass the bill by the end of the year so that those with less time left will have access to the option before it is too late.

“The whole purpose of this bill is to allow individuals to have 6 months or less to live with a terminal diagnosis the option to consider accessing medication to transition peacefully in their sleep,” said Maria Spencer, Regional Campaign and Outreach Manager for Compassion and Choices for the East.

Nine states and Washington D.C have authorized medical aid in dying since 1997 including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Spencer cited a recent Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll published in September that found 70 percent of Massachusetts residents support the End of Life Options Act.

Lee Marshall, a psychotherapist and retired registered nurse living with metastatic breast cancer said that she also supports the option.

“I absolutely want the ability to go peacefully when the time comes and to not suffer pain and prolonged misery,” said Marshall.

Marshall said that she has watched others who suffered pain at the end of their life and that having control over the end of her own would let her live out her remaining time to the fullest.

“This would allow me the peace of mind to know that I can decide when enough is enough for me.”

The bill is currently in the hands of the Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing, awaiting possible approval.

More information on the bill and the Compassion and Choices organization can be found at their website.


About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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