Boston cardinal urges ‘no’ vote on assisted suicide
“Please join me to stop assisted suicide by voting ‘No on Question 2′ on Election Day,” he said, asking voters to “stop this bad idea and bad law from going into effect.”
The cardinal’s Oct. 12 column in The Boston Pilot said that small decisions can lead to “undesirable outcomes that never would have been supported at the outset.”
He criticized Massachusetts’ Question 2, which would allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to allow their terminally ill patients to commit suicide. It requires a 15 day waiting period before the suicide drug can be dispensed. Under the proposal, death certificates would not present assisted suicide as a patient’s cause of death, but rather list their terminal illness.
The cardinal said opponents of the proposal fear that it is “harmful in itself” and could lead to “unintended tragic outcomes.” Ethicists, he noted, are concerned that assisted suicide devalues human life and those who work to prevent suicide fear that legally allowing suicide for one group could increase suicide rates among the rest of the population.
“How can a state effectively both try to minimize suicide in some situations and promote it as a legal alternative in other situations?” he asked.
Doctors and nurses are concerned assisted suicide could lead to poorer care for those near the end of life, while doctors also say it could harm the doctor patient relationship, the cardinal said.
The American Medical Association opposes physician-assisted suicide as “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as a healer.” It would be “impossible to control” and would pose “serious societal risks.”
The Massachusetts Medical Society also opposes physician assisted suicide. [More]