Massachusetts: Opposing Question 2 a Matter of Life and Death

State   Brad Mattes   Oct 28, 2012   |   6:25PM    Boston, MA

Contrary to all the media reports, political ads, bloggers and mailers, this year’s election deals with more than the presidential race. Some of the voting “hotspots” have been eclipsed by the constant drone of presidential political hysteria. Of course this presidential election is without a doubt the most important in modern American history. I believe the future of our nation is at stake—the choice between good and evil has never been more profound.

But what happens November 6th in the state of Massachusetts will literally mean life or death for some of its citizens. Voters there will be deciding Question 2, called Prescribing Medication to End Life. The ballot measure, if approved, will legalize physician-assisted suicide. The intent is to allow those who’ve been diagnosed with less than six months to live, to get a prescription of poison from a physician to end their lives at will.

The Massachusetts Medical Society is opposed to Question 2, with good reason. They say the proposed safeguards are woefully insufficient. Not-so-minor legalities such as enforcement provisions, oversight, data verification or investigative authority are missing from the act. For example, one of those who witness the patient’s signed request could be an heir who’d benefit from a financial windfall. What’s to prevent a millionaire wannabe from hurrying the process along while there’s a year-end clearance on Ferraris?

Another concern of the Medical Society includes the difficulty of predicting how long a patient has to live. One study showed 17% of patients outlived their prognosis. Some do by years.

Much of what fuels support for these lethal remedies is a fear by most individuals of being in pain. Those who advocate euthanasia laws are well aware of this vulnerability and do all they can to exploit it during political campaigns.

I can speak from experience when it comes to protracted pain. I don’t fall into the terminal category but have a lengthy medical history that includes, but is not limited to, surviving cancer, heart valve reconstruction and two spinal surgeries. The ongoing spinal problems have resulted in chronic pain. I’m talking about fist-clenching, searing and exhaustive pain.

Getting medical relief from chronic pain isn’t as easy as you might expect, in part due to a growing number of people who abuse pain medication. As a result, a doctor’s concern whether or not federal regulators will descend on a practice and reputation sometimes dwarfs the need of patients, even if they are terminal. Through no fault of their own, patients are often looked upon with suspicion, which erects hurdles to desperately needed care.

Sometimes the medical profession who you expect to respond with compassion and empathy turn out to be utterly callous to what the suffering patient is experiencing. I’ve been there, and it greatly magnifies the feelings of desperation and despair.

So when I hear of patients who’d rather die than face another day of pain, I totally understand because on numerous occasions I’ve felt that way too. And chronic pain almost always brings with it companions of depression, hopelessness and despondency. This combination makes vulnerable patients much more susceptible to those promoting snake-oil offers (like Question 2) of a quick exit from physical misery. We shouldn’t be surprised that many would jump at the chance to end it all. And since it’s legal it must be moral, right?

Add Obamacare to the mix that will impose draconian rationing, and it ensures laws like Question 2 are a disaster in the making. Once we accept the legality of doctors helping to kill their patients, it’s a small step to mandating physician-assisted suicide for those hopeless individuals who would be a drain on our limited medical resources. And in the process you can expect the safeguard that requires a patient to be terminal in order to qualify for assisted-suicide to itself fall victim to fiscal necessity.

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Please also keep in mind that whether a person is experiencing chronic suffering or a terminal illness, it’s part of God’s perfect plan to benefit those involved. It may give us an opportunity to minister to others. Families torn apart by previous disagreements could be made whole again; or those going through the crisis may be drawn closer and deeper into a relationship with the Lord. Whatever the trial, rest assured God has our wellbeing at the forefront.

Those who think assisted-suicide laws will only affect residents of states where they’ve passed are fooling themselves. If we don’t stop this juggernaut of euthanasia, it will only be a matter of time before federal legislation is passed so only the fit survives.

If you or someone you know lives in Massachusetts, pleased get involved in stopping Question 2. Even if you don’t live in the state, you can send a contribution to help protect vulnerable patients. Please visit their website to see how you can best assist: http://www.noonquestion2.org/. You can also contact them via mail or phone: No on Question 2, PO Box 550121, Waltham, MA 02455, 617-440-7572.

And whatever you do, please don’t forget to vote. Here’s information on where the presidential candidates stand on the life issues. Share it widely with like-minded voters: http://www.lifeissues.org/pdf/smallGOLcomparison2012.pdf

LifeNews.com Note: Bradley Mattes is the executive director of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group.