Action Alert!

The assisted-suicide drive in Massachusetts won't be easy to kill

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Nov 02, 2012

For someone who has spent years trying to combat the pernicious influence of the Kennedy family and the Boston Globe on Massachusetts political scene, it’s a surreal experience to find the Globe joining with Ted Kennedy’s widow in public opposition to Proposition 2, the referendum that would legalize physician-assisted suicide. Earlier opposition by the Catholic bishops, led by Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had failed to put a dent in the public support for the initiative. Now this criticism from liberal stalwarts—along with an effective pro-life advertising campaign—have exposed the dangers of the proposal. We can hope that the voters of Massachusetts will show the good sense to reject the proposal, although that result is still far from certain.

But even if the cause of life gains a victory (or at least averts another defeat) in Massachusetts on Tuesday, don’t think for a moment that this fight is over. Notice the words of the Globe editorial:


Instead, Massachusetts should commit itself to a rigorous exploration of end-of-life issues, with the goal of bringing the medical community, insurers, religious groups, and state policy makers into agreement on how best to help individuals handle terminal illnesses and die on their own terms.

The Globe is not saying that physician-assisted suicide is a bad idea. The editorial argues that this particular referendum proposal—which, incidentally, has won endorsement from virtually nobody—is a bad idea. Another few years from now, if another group brings forward a more carefully crafted proposal, the Globe will be quite ready to reconsider.

Count on it. They’ll be back.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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