Backers of doctor prescribed death recently filed paperwork with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley to begin the process of bringing their plan, called the Death With Dignity Act, to the 2012 ballot. The proposed law asks voters to allow patients who will die within six months to ask for and receive a prescription for lethal drugs which the patient can take to end his/her own life. Under Massachusetts law, after certification of the proposal by the Attorney General, the legislature has three options: back the proposal, offer an alternative, or allow the measure to be placed on the November 2012 ballot.
Organizations pushing the legalization of doctor-prescribed death have been working hard to gain a foothold in the northeastern states. Following the 2010 election, proponents boldly predicted a legalization win in one state legislature (presumed to be Vermont) immediately followed by a ballot amendment in a second state (presumed to be Maine or Massachusetts). The 2011 effort to legalize doctor-prescribed death in the Vermont legislature failed but is likely to be renewed in 2012. Now, the push is on for Massachusetts where an enormous battle is expected in the legislature which may be followed by a vote of the general public.
Wisconsin Right to Life will continue in its role of advising and assisting states targeted for legalization of doctor prescribed death with renewed emphasis on these two critical northeastern states.