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Poll: Assisted Suicide Ballot Question Losing Support, But Still Expected to Pass

The most recent Suffolk University poll suggests that voters are being influenced by a barrage of ads urging them to block Question 2.

A new poll finds that support for the ballot question that would legalize doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill has dropped dramatically. 

According to a Suffolk University poll released Tuesday, 47 percent of voters support the measure and 41 oppose it, in contrast to the 64 percent who supported it six weeks earlier. 

The 'death with dignity' question seeks to allow terminally ill adults who are expected to live less than six month to take legal drugs prescribed by a doctor.

The drop in support could be attributed to the sharp increase in ads seeking to persuade voters to reject the question. Stephen Crawford, spokesman for Dignity 2012, has called the groups behind these ads "out-of-state fringe groups wiling to say anything," according to masslive.com. In addition to the out-of-state groups, many in Massachusetts – in particular, Catholic groups – are opposing the measure

Crawford said his group plans to air ads in support of Question 2 between now and the election. 

Rachel November 03, 2012 at 03:22 AM
"Out-of-state fringe groups?" Who exactly is Mr. Crawford referring to? Here is a partial list of individuals and organizations *in Massachusetts* opposing the measure: Second Thoughts Victoria Kennedy, the widow of the late Edward Kennedy Archbishop Sean O'Malley Bishop Timothy McDonnell Boston Globe Boston Herald Massachusetts Medical Society Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians Massachusetts Osteopathic Society Hospice and Palliative Care Federation of Massachusetts Western Massachusetts Pharmacists Association Mass Osteopathic Society Boston Center for Independent Living Cambridge Commission for Persons with Disabilities
Joanne November 03, 2012 at 04:17 AM
According to the yes on 2 site, there have been no instances of assisted suicide abuse in "the 19 years" it's been legal in other states. That's not true (and in Oregon, I believe assisted suicide wasn't practiced for several years after their Act passed due to court challenges, so the "19 years" part doesn't seem accurate either.) http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/oregon-ten-years/ The link above documents some of the abuses and the lack of oversight which makes abuse difficult to detect in Oregon (and the so-called "Death with Dignity" Act in Massachusetts is very much like Oregon's). And since the whole point of assisted suicide is a dead patient, there are no witnesses after the fact if there is any coercion. There are many flaws with this bill, like a lack of mandatory palliative care consult and lack of psych eval. Also, one witness to the suicide request can be an heir. That's is a lower standard than when someone draws up a will. Steve Crawford neglects to mention that the Mass Medical Society, the AMA, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Association, and of course many disability advocacy groups either oppose assisted suicide outright or publicly oppose Question 2. The Boston Globe, the Herald, and about nine other community newspapers have urged a NO vote on Question 2. I'm a nurse and I hope that people don't give doctors the power to facilitate patient deaths. Vote no on 2.
Joanne November 03, 2012 at 04:20 AM
lol @ Rachel - seriously, just go to the yes on 2 site for out of state fringe groups, like "Compassion and Choices," which is a direct descendent of the Hemlock Society.
Diane Coleman November 03, 2012 at 05:42 PM
While assisted suicide proponents have good intentions, it’s the language of the law that voters need to consider. The fine print should give anyone “Second Thoughts,” the name chosen by disability advocates who oppose Question 2. Oregon has a virtually identical law and, as the Oregon Reports themselves note, the state can’t assess the extent of non-compliance with the safeguards. Some independent articles find that safeguards failed in individual cases, but the law includes no authority for investigation or enforcement, so nothing happens as a result. Elder abuse is notoriously undetected and underreported. Sure, some people are safe, but with 19,500 reported elder abuse cases in Massachusetts in 2011, many are not. Pressure to choose assisted suicide can come in many forms, some hidden and private. When we're talking about changing public policy that impacts the health care system that everyone depends on, and the real world of families that are not necessarily all loving and supportive, we have an obligation to think of everyone, not just those who are safe from abuse.
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