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MA Lawmakers Urged to Pass End-of-Life Options Act

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021   

BOSTON, Mass. -- Groups advocating for terminally ill Massachusetts residents say a bill reintroduced this session, the End-of-Life Options Act, could give people autonomy over their death and relief from needless suffering.

Lee Marshall, a Gloucester psychotherapist and former registered nurse, was diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer in October 2018, and now advocates for folks to have the right to decide when the pain and suffering reaches the point where quality of life is no longer there.

"And medical aid in dying would allow me the sort of the comfort that if that happens to me, I have a way to relieve my suffering, so I'm in control," Marshall explained.

Nearly 75% of Americans support medical aid in dying, according to Gallup polling from last May, a six-point jump from the same survey conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

State Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, one of the bill's co-sponsors, said public opinion has created a new appetite for the End-of-Life Options Act.

Similar bills have failed in past legislative sessions, and she hopes to see more of her colleagues come on board this time.

"There are more and more people contacting the Legislature to tell their own stories," Comerford observed. "Either those who are facing an end of life or those who have helped a loved one through it or are helping loved ones through it."

Comerford added not only does she have a responsibility to heed the calls of her constituents, but she believes folks should be able to make decisions about end-of-life treatment with their loved ones and their doctors, guided by a medical standard of care.


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