Massachusetts

Current Status

H 1991, the Massachusetts Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act, filed by Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) in January 2015 and co-sponsored by 39 lawmakers received a hearing in the Joint (House and Senate) Committee on Public Health on October 27, 2015. In June 2016, the Committee recommended the bill be sent for further review, which effectively rendered the bill done for the year.

Rep. Kafka intends to reintroduce the bill again in the 2017 session.

History

The 2015-2016 session was the seventh time a Death with Dignity bill was considered in the Massachusetts legislature. Representative Kafka had filed the same bill three times before, in 2011 (H 2233), 2012 (H 3884), and 2013 (H 1998), but it never 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, 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 considered in 1995 (H 3173), 1997 (H 1543), and 2009 (H 1468).

Resources

Events

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Tell your Massachusetts legislators to support the Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act

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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is once again considering a Death with Dignity bill. Modeled on the Oregon law, H 1991, Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act, would give terminally ill people more freedom, control, and peace of mind at the end of their lives. Urge your state legislators to support the bill!

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