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Vote Nov. 6 for ‘ultimate  act of compassion’

To the editor:

Come on Massachusetts, let’s do it again. Our citizens have stood up for human rights since the founding of this country. Shouldn’t we also stand for the Right to Die with Dignity at a time of our own choosing and with the support of our family, friends and physician?

The Dignity 2012 group is working to pass Question 2 on Nov. 6 and I support it.

Death with dignity has a proven track record in Oregon, the first state to pass this legislation. The moral safeguards have worked and the law has not been abused. Since the law was enacted in Oregon in 1997, it has accounted for 525 deaths. About one third of the patients who had the medication at hand to end their lives never used it.

Hospice care can be very effective, but not in all cases. Some people may want the option to have the ability and power to control when their life will end, before the loss of dignity occurs. We all know family members and friends who have been touched by someone who has died a prolonged and horrific death with intolerable suffering. This is not just about pain control. It is about a person’s right to make this most important decision at the end of life.

This legislation is based on the Oregon law. It would enable a competent adult with an incurable disease and a prognosis of six months or less left to live as stated by their physician to obtain a prescription for drugs to end their life. The time to use the drugs will be their choice — with support from those who care. The request must be made twice over a 15-day span and be witnessed by two people. Physicians would not be required to comply if they did not choose to. It would be up to each individual doctor.

We have the ability to offer this ultimate act of compassion to our beloved pets when their suffering is intolerable. Isn’t it about time we do the same for ourselves? A dying person is entitled to have the power to make this choice. It will likely be the most important one they make.

Vote yes on Question 2.

Randee Laikind

Shelburne Falls

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