BOSTON, November 8, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the pro-life victories in this Tuesday’s election, the defeat of a Massachusetts ballot measure that proposed to legalize physician-assisted suicide, is being celebrated nationwide. Sean O’Malley, the cardinal archbishop of Boston, said, “It is my hope and prayer that the defeat of Question 2 will help all people to understand that, for our brothers and sisters confronted with terminal illness, we can do better than offering them the means to end their lives.”
The measure proposed to allow assisted suicide only for those whose terminal illnesses allowed six months or fewer to live. But opponents countered that such determinations are nearly impossible to predict accurately, and warned that such safeguards have proven inadequate in other jurisdictions where the practice is allowed.
Critics were concerned about wording that would have allowed physician assisted suicide without a psychiatric evaluation for symptoms of depression, family notification, or the presence of a doctor. They warned that legal assisted suicide would erode the quality of care for elderly and sick people, and pressure them to end their lives.
It was defeated by a razor-thin margin of 51-49 percent.
The cardinal had led a campaign against the measure using Twitter and other social media. It was also opposed by a coalition of groups for the disabled, the Massachusetts Medical Association, and several newspapers including the Boston Herald.
Cardinal O’Malley thanked all of those who had opposed the measure, saying, “The Campaign Against Physician-Assisted Suicide brought together a diverse coalition from medical, disability rights and interfaith communities, all dedicated to ensuring that our residents were well informed about this issue.”
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Rosanne Bacon Meade, chairwoman of the Committee Against Assisted Suicide,agreed. “We believe the voters came to see this as a flawed approach to end of life care, lacking in the most basic safeguards,” she said. “We hope this marks the beginning of a real conversation about ways to improve end-of-life care in Massachusetts, which, as the nation’s health care capital, is well positioned to take the lead on this issue.”
While conceding defeat, the measure’s supporters vowed to try again to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Massachusetts outlaws assisted suicide only by legal precedent, not by force of law.
Only two other states currently allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients.