Rep. Vinny deMacedo, R-Plymouth, said he opposes Massachusetts ballot Question 2, which if passed would legalize physician-assisted suicide in the Commonwealth, Jan. 1, 2013.
"I think it’s a slipperly slope," deMacedo said Thursday.
He listed several concerns about the language of the bill, which does not require a patient to consult with a doctor, or for the doctor to be present when taking the lethal prescription.
"I’m concerned, that in this society that if we start sanctioning this, people with six-months to live will choose to end their lives, but doctors admit they can't accurately predict life expectancy," deMacedo said. "It could be six months, it could be a year, it could be two years."
Question 2, called by supporters the "Death with Dignity" initiative, would allow for a terminially ill patient, with fewer than six months to live, to be prescribed lethal drugs.
According to Ballotpedia, "The patient requesting the medication must be mentally capable to make medical decisions while consulting their respective doctors. Patients would be required to submit their request orally twice and witnessed in writing, and the initial verbal request must be fifteen days prior to the written request and second oral request. The patient's terminal diagnosis and capability to make health care decisions must be confirmed by a second doctor."
The proposed act also allows blood relatives to participate in assisting the patient to sign up for the lethal dose, providing that one of the required witnesses on the lethal dose request form not be a patient’s relative by blood, marriage or adoption.
Supporters argue that the measure would give terminally ill patients dignity and control over their deaths, and would alleviate suffering.
Opponents argue that the measure is morally wrong, and that beneficiaries of terminally ill patients could abuse the provisions presented by the proposal.
The Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians and the Massachusetts Osteopathic Society have each announced their opposition to Question 2.