IMPORTANT UPDATE, MAY 9, 2022: The End of Life Options Action remains stuck in The Joint Committee on Public Health. The only way it will pass out of committee is if leadership makes it a priority. Write your members now — tell them to tell the leadership it’s time to prioritize Death with Dignity.
Dying people should not have to suffer against their wishes.
Adults with terminal illness should have the right to end their lives peacefully, in a dignified way, surrounded by family and loved ones.
Massachusetts has fallen behind other states in protecting this fundamental right, but the End of Life Options Act (H.2381/S.1384) will establish a proven death with dignity law and stop needless suffering.
About Death with Dignity
Death with Dignity has been campaigning for the rights of Massachusetts residents with terminal illness since 2011, and advocating for the fundamental freedom of choice in life and death across the country for more than 25 years.
This year Massachusetts End of Life Options bills have been reintroduced in the Senate and House. Despite well-funded opposition and rampant misinformation, 70% of Massachusetts residents support medical aid in dying.
Timeline of Death with Dignity in Massachusetts
March: Bill passes out of committee
On Tuesday, March 14, the Joint Committee on Public Health passed the End of Life Options Act out of committee.
February: Bill Extended
On Wednesday, February 2, the Joint Committee on Public Health extended their consideration of the End of Life Options Act. That means they gave themselves more time to decide what they want to do, and if it will ultimately come up for a vote by the end of the 2022 legislative session.
October: Committee Hearing
On Friday, October 1, dozens of Death with Dignity supporters spoke in favor of the bill at a Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health hearing. We are now awaiting committee assignment of the bill, and next steps for our advocacy.
March: Bill Reintroduced
The Massachusetts End of Life Options Act (H.2381/S.1384) is reintroduced for the 2021 legislative session. The bill is sponsored by a total of 67 members of the Massachusetts Legislature (20 Senators, 47 Representatives).
S.1208/H.1926, the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act, advanced from the Joint Committee on Public Health on May 29, 2020, but did not pass during the 2020 legislative session, despite overwhelming public support.
Bills Sent to Study
The 2017-2018 session was the eighth time a death with dignity bill came up for consideration in the Massachusetts legislature. A hearing was held, and the bills were sent to study, effectively ending their chances of passage in the 2018 session.
Endorsement from the Massachusetts Medical Society
In December 2017, the Massachusetts Medical Society rescinds its opposition to “physician assisted suicide” and adopted a position of “neutral engagement” on the issue.
2013 – 2016
2013 – 2016
Four Bills are Launched
In four consecutive legislative sessions, similar bills are introduced in an effort to advance death with dignity in Massachusetts. None of them move out of committee.
Despite Public Support, Massachusetts Ballot Initiative Fails
Death with Dignity National Center campaigned in Massachusetts for Question 2, a ballot initiative to pass a death with dignity bill. While polls showed 58 percent of commonwealth residents supported Question 2, the measure narrowly lost (51 to 49 percent) against a flood of spending by the opposition.