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Massachusetts Attorney General Certifies Proposed Ballot Measure
Posted by Melissa Barber on September 8, 2011
The Death with Dignity Act gives terminally ill patients greater control and peace of mind during their final days with family and loved ones.
Dignity 2012, the Massachusetts coalition of concerned citizens working toward passing the next Death with Dignity Act, took another step closer to the 2012 ballot. This week, the Massachusetts Attorney General certified the proposed ballot measure as meeting all the requirements for voter consideration and issued a summary statement for the initiative.
Now that the ballot language has been certified by the Attorney General, petitioners must collect 68,911 voter signatures by late November. The initiative is then sent to the legislature for consideration. If the legislature chooses not to act on the proposal, additional signatures must be gathered before the question is sent to the voters next year.
According to the Boston Herald this next hurdle is, "typically a costly, intensive effort that has derailed ballot initiatives in previous years." However, with strong public support the prospect of continuing through the process looks bright. According to an online, non-scientific poll when the initiative proposal was filed, over 70% of of the 643 respondents indicated they would vote for this initiative.
Prominent medical professionals are also stepping forward to lend their vocal support. As quoted in the Boston Herald, former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and one of the original petitioners of the proposal, Marcia Angell, stated:
The Massachusetts Death with Dignity Act would create a legally sanctioned process for dying patients whose suffering cannot be adequately controlled to receive a prescription from a licensed physician to bring about a peaceful and dignified death. As a physician who has studied this issue over many years, I believe the people of Massachusetts are ready to consider giving suffering patients this option.
Another of the original petitioners, a long-time rights advocate, and former Legislative Director for the ACLU of Massachusetts, Norma Shapiro, quoted on Dignity 2012's site, explained why this legislation is necessary:
The Death with Dignity Act gives terminally ill patients greater control and peace of mind during their final days with family and loved ones. It affirms our right as individuals to make decisions about our own end-of-life care.
Are you ready to join the effort to allow terminally-ill Bay Staters to decide when or whether to hasten their deaths? Sign up to get involved through the Massachusetts Death with Dignity Coalition.
Defend dignity. Take action.
You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, non-profit organization, has been the leading advocate in the death with dignity movement. Member contributions helped us pass a new Death with Dignity law in Washington, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the death with dignity movement.