What is PAS?
PAS stands for Physician-Assisted Suicide. It is the process in which a doctor upon request prescribes a lethal dose of medication in order to allow a patient who has been given six months to live to commit suicide.
When will the “Death with Dignity” Act be on the ballot?
The ballot question will be on the statewide ballot this November 6th, 2012.
Would a psychiatrist be required to evaluate a patient considering PAS?
No. Under the “Death with Dignity” act, patients are not required to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. Physicians prescribing the lethal dose are not required to refer a patient to a psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm a patient’s mental health. Patients would only be required to go to counseling based on the individual judgment of the attending or consulting physician.
Can the “Death with Dignity” act be rewritten to prevent avoidable suicides?
No. Once an initiative like the Physician-Assisted Suicide ballot question act has been submitted, it cannot be altered between now and the election.
Who has opposed the act?
Organizations such as the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Hospice and Palliative Care Federation, and the American Medical Directors Association all oppose the practice of Physician-Assisted Suicide.
Is there a need for physician-assisted suicide?
Medical professionals, as well as palliative and hospice care experts, agree our state does not need physician-assisted suicide. End-of-life care programs like palliative and hospice care are able to relieve and prevent suffering. The state's priority should be on expanding access this important end-of-life care, not approving legal suicide.
Is this ballot question for those enduring true end-of-life conditions?
No. The ballot question uses an arbitrary timeline – a six-month diagnosis – to trigger access to physician-assisted suicide. Many people who receive such prognoses will not become sick for weeks or months and they live full and active lives in the meantime. Many outlive their prognoses by months or even years. And, when patients do become sicker, hospice and palliative care workers are much better at relieving suffering and allowing them to still spend time with family and friends.
What is the Committee Against PAS?
The Committee Against Physician Assisted Suicide is an independent committee formed to recruit citizens, healthcare leaders, and religious organizations to defeat this poorly written, confusing, and flawed ballot question. The goal of this committee is to focus all its attention and resources on defeating Question 2 and will not be involved on any other public policy questions other than defeating physician assisted suicide. The goal of the committee is to recruit Massachusetts citizens and organization, who while they may disagree on other policy questions, are united in their support to defeat Question 2.
Ballot Question Language
The below links will take you to the actual ballot question language. See our “Why Is This Important?” page to understand why this language is deeply flawed.
- Petition Language: http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-12.pdf
- Petition Summary: http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/government/2011-petitions/11-12-summary.pdf