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Vote no on question 2: No dignity in 'Death with Dignity' ballot question


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Citizens of this Commonwealth will make a life or death decision this Nov. 6 as they will be confronted with ballot Question 2 that could legalize physician assisted suicide in Massachusetts.

Sometimes, we Catholics struggle to offer convincing arguments to our non-religious fellow citizens about why certain moral issues are harmful for society. Fortunately, in this case, such arguments are not even necessary as proponents of the measure have drafted such a poorly worded piece of legislation that any well-informed person, irrespective of his or her religious beliefs, will have no choice but to admit that this particular legislation is pernicious and should not become law.

Let's summarize some of the ballot question's key flaws:

-- Terminally ill patients are often suffering from clinical depression, severely impeding their ability to make a thoughtful, free decision. The fact that the law does not require that a psychiatrist evaluate the patient to rule out depression is an insurmountable flaw.

-- It should be expected that any law that deals with life and death consequences have safeguards in place to ensure the patient makes an informed decision on such a grave matter. Even though the law requires the doctor who is prescribing the lethal dose of drugs to mention palliative care as an option, it does not require that a patient consult with hospice experts about their options for care and pain management in that setting.

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