Massachusetts State Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton), together with 44 co-sponsors, introduced H.1194, An Act Relative to End of Life Options, on January 27, 2017. Massachusetts State Senator Barbara L’Italien, with 11 co-sponsors, introduced a companion bill in the state Senate the same day (S.1225). Both bills were referred to the Joint Committee on Public Health.
The 2017-2018 session is the eighth time a Death with Dignity bill is under consideration in the Massachusetts legislature.
Representative Kafka introduced similar bills in
- 2015: H 1991, the Massachusetts Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act, with 39 co-sponsors. The bill received a hearing in the Joint (House and Senate) Committee on Public Health on October 27, 2015. In June 2016, the Committee recommended the end-of-life option bill be sent for further review, which effectively rendered the bill done for the year.
- 2013: H 1998
- 2012: H 3884
- 2011: H 2233
None of these bills moved out of Committee.
In 2012, we campaigned in Massachusetts for Question 2, a ballot initiative to pass a Death with Dignity bill. While polls showed 58% of state residents supported the ballot question about this end-of-life option, the measure lost narrowly 51 to 49 percent. Because of the Commonwealth’s rules on the initiative process, a Death with Dignity bill cannot return to the Massachusetts ballot until 2018.
Physician-assisted dying bills were also considered in 1995 (H 3173), 1997 (H 1543), and 2009 (H 1468).
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