Reject Assisted Suicide Legislation in Massachusetts, Says Bioethicist-Priest

A leading bio-ethicist and priest in Massachusetts is desperately pleading with residents to vote down a new initiative that would allow physician-assisted suicide in the state.

Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk, a priest with the Diocese of Fall River in Massachusetts and director of education at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, is informing potential voters of the dangers of having physician-assisted suicide legal in the state.

"It is troubling how many individuals fail to grasp the absurdity of encouraging physician-assisted suicide. Suicide is no joking matter. Regardless of how it transpires, it is a catastrophe for those who end their own lives and for loved ones left behind," Pacholczyk wrote in an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

The focus of Pacholczyk is aimed at defeating a ballot initiative known as Question 2, which would allow for physicians to give terminally ill patients medication that can be self-administered to end their life.

Question 2 would allow the physician-assisted suicide for adults of the state who maintain their mental faculties and have been diagnosed with a terminal illness with less than six months to live.

The measure has a 15-day waiting period and would allow either family members or non-blood relatives to hold a participatory role in the process in terms of aiding the patient with signing up for the procedure.

Opponents of the new measure state that family members or beneficiaries of those terminally ill patients could abuse this provision of the proposed law. Pacholczyk also argues that should this measure be passed, there would be no legislations to stop other professions from being able to perform assisted suicides.

"If a sick person expresses a wish to die, the police could be notified, and an officer would arrive bearing a suitable firearm ... After giving instruction on the best way to angle the barrel, the officer would depart, and the patient could then pick up the device and take it from there- police-assisted suicide," Pacholczyk said.

Voters in Massachusetts will be able to vote on the ballot initiative on Nov. 6.