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Telegram and Gazette – Letter: State legislators should reject assisted suicide bill

Nurses reject assisted suicide bill

Telegram & Gazette

March 25, 2021

As registered nurses, we urge state legislators to look at the facts and reject Massachusetts assisted suicide bill.

Despite what the authors of a recent letter to the editor claim, uncontrollable pain does not even make it into the top five reasons that people choose assisted suicide. Based on data from Oregon, the state where assisted suicide has been legal the longest, the reasons that people choose assisted suicide include: decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable, loss of autonomy and loss of dignity. These serious concerns are all existential or disability-related that ought to be treated with appropriate care, not death.

The medical community is also resoundingly opposed to the practice of assisted suicide. The American Medical Association reaffirmed its opposition to assisted suicide because, “Physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” The World Medical Association is also opposed to assisted suicide. As medical professionals, our role is to heal, not to hasten death.

Assisted suicide is a dangerous public policy that targets the most vulnerable in society: the terminally ill, people with disabilities, and the elderly. The so-called “safeguards” in assisted suicide laws are ineffective. Having surpassed 500,000 deaths from COVID-19, it’s shocking that our legislature is considering institutionalizing premature death now. Instead of working to make death more accessible, we strongly urge our state legislators to expand access to quality medical care and treatment options.

Sandra A. Kucharski, MS RN, Worcester

Kathleen M. Lake, RN, West Boylston

Carol E. Johnston RN (ret), Worcester

Diane M. Smith RN (ret), Oakham