Mark J Rollo: Wishes Comerford would drop fight for physician-assisted suicide

Published: 1/14/2022 1:34:46 PM
Modified: 1/14/2022 1:33:53 PM

Dear Sen. Comerford, as a physician who has lived and practiced for many years in the Bay State, I was very dismayed to recently read in the Gazette that you have made physician-assisted suicide a priority in the coming year.

You spoke of the “very, very, very, very, very, very narrow cohort of people for whom this would be applicable.” Assisting in the suicide of just one person who has been given an erroneous diagnosis or prognosis is too many. For much the same reason, as well as others, I oppose capital punishment because one person wrongly condemned is too many.

Supposed “layers of protection” against misuse are merely obstacles to be removed by assisted suicide proponents in the next round of legislation. Witness Canada, which legalized assisted suicide in 2016 for people estimated to have just six months to live. In only five years the criteria has expanded to include those with chronic disease including psychiatric illness.

Let us recall that Germany, the most sophisticated medical community of its time which existed in early 20th century, killed psychiatric patients by the thousands as a prelude to the Holocaust. It was not the Nazis that taught the doctors how to kill; it was the other way around.

Please don’t allow Massachusetts to corrupt the medical establishment by sanctioning assisted suicide. Finally, if one were to cite the most meaningful poll regarding assisted suicide it would be the 2012 ballot initiative where 51% of residents rejected it. In that poll Northampton residents, who at the time were 88% white, voted strongly for assisted suicide. By contrast, Lawrence, which was 60% Hispanic and 5% Black, strongly opposed assisted suicide.

In the last10 years the proportion of minorities in Massachusetts has only expanded. It does not speak of equity to allow the white, wealthy and well-insured to dictate policy over the poor and the minority population who have been steered toward suicide by insurance companies and government payers in states which have state sanctioned medicalized suicide.

Sen. Comerford, please let this dangerous bill die a natural death.

Mark J. Rollo

Fitchburg (former Easthampton resident)




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