Protection of conscience provision in Massachusetts assisted suicide bill

House Bill 1998 (2013)

An Act affirming a terminally ill patient’s right to compassionate aid in dying

Protection of conscience provisions are included in a bill to
legalize assisted suicide in Massachusetts for residents who are at least 18
years old and diagnosed with a terminal illness with a life expectancy of six
months or less.  It is not clear from the text of the statute whether or
not an objector is exempt from all parts of the assisted suicide process [per
Section 4(b)ii], or only from the requirement to actually provide the lethal
medication [per Section 4(1)].  Similarly, it is not clear whether or not
an objector is required to refer or otherwise assist a patient to find someone
who will provide a lethal prescription; Section 4(b)iv appears to imply an
expectation of referral or assistance.

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