Massachusetts Voters Want Their Parents to Die with Dignity

The practice of medicine here in Massachusetts could soon be getting a makeover. Voters here seem poised to pass both medical marijuana and physician assisted suicide come November, according to a recent survey by Public Policy Polling.

A slim majority of voters would vote to approve physician-assisted suicide, the poll found: 43 percent are in favor, and 37 percent are against. If passed, we’d be the fourth state with a legal backing for physician-assisted suicide. The others are Oregon, Montana, and Washington. In our December issue, we wrote at length about physician assisted suicide.

Men were in favor of this other right to choose: 48 percent of them said they’d support the bill, while 34 percent said no way. For women, those opposed were in the majority with 41 percent against such a measure, and 38 percent for it.

But here’s the most interesting part with physician-assisted suicide: The oldest Bay Staters don’t want it. Fully 44 percent of those 65 and older said they were opposed. In a stark contrast, those aged 46 to 65 were the highest segment in favor with 49 percent supporting the bill. So it looks like those with elderly parents think physician-assisted suicide should be OK, while those elderly parents themselves don’t want the option to pick when they see the reaper. Interesting dynamic. We’ll see how it plays out in November.

For medical marijuana, according to the polls, 53 percent of canvassed voters were in favor of medical marijuana. By contrast, 35 percent said they were opposed to the measure. (For you math people, that leaves another 12 percent undecided.) Men led the charge, with 60 percent in favor and 30 percent opposed. For women, it was 46 percent for, 41 percent against, reflecting much deeper ambivalence among the fairer gender.

If passed, Massachusetts would become the 19th state that allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients — even though the federal government has repeatedly said it would continue to prosecute marijuana cultivation like the federal crime it is.