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Letter: Act of compassion

I am writing in support of House Bill 1998, an act affirming a terminally ill patient’s right to compassionate aid in dying.

In less than three weeks the Public Health Committee will be considering this bill. Its fate will be decided and public input will be critical in this process.

In 2012 this issue was on the ballot in Massachusetts and lost by a very narrow margin and won in just about all of western Massachusetts. A recent poll showed 70 percent of commonwealth residents are in favor of this bill.

All throughout our lives we make important personal decisions for ourselves: where to live, who to spend life with, what to do for a living. Aid-in-dying legislation is a fight to continue making these decisions regarding our lives even at the end of life.

I’m far from being the only person in our state that has had to watch a loved one suffer through months and months of a painful terminal illness, slowly but surely losing the qualities that make a life worth living. Most recently a close friend was dying and asked me to try my hardest to help make aid-in-dying legislation a reality.

Let us decide for ourselves what we are going to do with our end of life options. Passing aid-in-dying legislation, H.1998, would simply be giving terminally ill people the right to choose. It would not force them to take any action, but allow them the right to make one more, and most likely their last, important life decision.



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