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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

MA could become 11th state with medical aid-in-dying law

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

Lawmakers in Massachusetts are considering legislation to allow medical aid in dying as an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults.

Patients age eighteen and older with less than six months to live could request medication from their physician, to take at their time of choosing and peacefully pass in their sleep.

Melissa Stacy, political and public affairs strategist with the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, said those with advanced-stage cancers and other debilitating illnesses deserve peace of mind.

"The amount of suffering and pain that goes into that is really, really difficult for a patient to withstand," said Stacy, "and really difficult for them to go through at the end of life, when they could have a medication available to them."

The legislation is opposed by the Catholic Church and some disability-rights groups who claim the law could be abused, but Stacy said safeguards have been built-in and rely on decades of data from similar laws in ten other states.

A recent poll finds two-thirds of Massachusetts residents support giving some terminally ill patients the legal right to end their lives with a doctor's prescription.

Gov. Maura Healy has also expressed her support.

Woods Hole resident Nancy Walbek, whose brother David used California's medical aid-in-dying law to end his suffering from pancreatic cancer, said it's a matter of personal choice.

"He was really at peace with the fact that he had a good life," said Walbek, "and he wanted to have a good last act also, so it was a huge advantage and it was peaceful for the family, too."

Walbek said her brother was able to pass at home when he was ready and with family nearby.

She said she believes most people support the option for medical aid in dying because so many people have watched loved ones needlessly suffer in their final days.

Already thirty senators have signed onto the bill, which is now pending before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.



Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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