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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

MA could become 11th state with medical aid-in-dying law

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering legislation to allow medical aid in dying as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults.

Patients age eighteen and older with less than six months to live could request medication from their physician, to take at their time of choosing and peacefully pass in their sleep.

Melissa Stacy, political and public affairs strategist with the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, said those with advanced-stage cancers and other debilitating illnesses deserve peace of mind.

"The amount of suffering and pain that goes into that is really, really difficult for a patient to withstand," said Stacy, "and really difficult for them to go through at the end of life, when they could have a medication available to them."

The legislation is opposed by the Catholic Church and some disability-rights groups who claim the law could be abused, but Stacy said safeguards have been built-in and rely on decades of data from similar laws in ten other states.

A recent poll finds two-thirds of Massachusetts residents support giving some terminally ill patients the legal right to end their lives with a doctor's prescription.

Gov. Maura Healy has also expressed her support.

Woods Hole resident Nancy Walbek, whose brother David used California's medical aid-in-dying law to end his suffering from pancreatic cancer, said it's a matter of personal choice.

"He was really at peace with the fact that he had a good life," said Walbek, "and he wanted to have a good last act also, so it was a huge advantage and it was peaceful for the family, too."

Walbek said her brother was able to pass at home when he was ready and with family nearby.

She said she believes most people support the option for medical aid in dying because so many people have watched loved ones needlessly suffer in their final days.

Already thirty senators have signed onto the bill, which is now pending before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.



Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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