By Chris Haring

As the state’s End of Life Options Act has advanced further than ever before, a new poll reveals growing support for medical aid in dying in Massachusetts.

For over a decade, Death with Dignity has been tirelessly working to bring medical aid in dying to Massachusetts. This year, we celebrate a significant milestone in this ongoing effort, thanks to the leadership of Senator Jo Comerford (Hampshire, Franklin, and Worcester) and Representative Jim O’Day (14th Worcester District). 

Our legislation, the End of Life Options Act (S. 1331), has made unprecedented progress, having been reported favorably by both the Public Health Committee and the Health Care Financing Committee. It now awaits further action in the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which is the furthest an aid-in-dying bill has progressed in the Bay State.

Support for medical aid in dying has grown over time

A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst/WCVB poll, released last week, provides compelling evidence of the growing public support for Death with Dignity. The survey reveals that 67% of Massachusetts residents support medical aid in dying, with 44% strongly supporting it. Only 11% were somewhat or strongly opposed, and 22% neither supported nor opposed the idea. These numbers underscore the increasing acceptance of medical aid in dying as a compassionate choice for those facing end-of-life suffering.

Massachusetts has seen a significant evolution in the discussion surrounding physician-assisted death. Since the narrow defeat of a 2012 ballot question, the Massachusetts Medical Society has shifted from opposition to neutral engagement, reflecting a broader trend of growing acceptance.

“Now 12 years later, close to seven in 10 residents are in favor of providing terminally ill patients with only a few months to live the option to make the decision to terminate their life,” said Tatishe Nteta, provost professor of political science at UMass Amherst and director of the poll.

Massachusetts assisted dying champions continue to lead the way

On June 5th, supporters gathered for Lobby Day, organized by the End of Life Options Coalition, of which we are a member. Armed with personal stories, advocates met with legislators and urged them to pass the bill.

Notable speakers included Senator Su Moran (Plymouth and Barnstable), Representatives Ted Philips (8th Norfolk District), and Simon Cataldo (14th Middlesex District). The event was a powerful demonstration of the widespread support for medical aid in dying and the dedication of those who have been championing this cause for years.

Please visit this page for more information on the history and progression of Death with Dignity in Massachusetts.