Marianne LaBarge: Time to pass End of Life Options Act


Published: 1/16/2019 3:07:23 PM

I feel strongly that it’s our personal, individual choice — our civil right — to choose how we want to die with respect and dignity if our lives are ending with a disease that only gives you six months to live. No more pain or suffering. I have a history of deadly cancer in my family and know how difficult it was to watch both my parents and other family members suffer before they passed away. If my father had the opportunity today to say “I want to end my life, and not have to continue with this unbearable suffering,” he would have agreed to take dying medication. I’ll always remember his words to me: “I can’t fight this anymore, it’s too strong.” 

My dear friend I took care of last year passed away with esophageal cancer under hospice at my home. It was terrible to see her fade away; she couldn’t breathe even on oxygen, and she was begging to breathe. Even with the pain medications, she was so upset with the discomfort she was going through. It is time for Massachusetts to ease that decision-making process for terminally ill patients and their doctors by adding to their legal, end-of-life options and passing the End of Life Options Act.

I’ve been a Northampton city councilor since 1997. In November of 2017, I and two other councilors sponsored a resolution, calling on the Legislature to enact this bill. After much public testimony and debate during two meetings, we voted 9 to 0 to pass it. The Legislature didn’t pass it in 2018, but with even more support from people like me all over the state, I sure hope they do this year. Contact your state legislators about it, like I have.

Marianne LaBarge, city councilor

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