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Massachusetts: Election day approaches, Questions 2, 3 gain support

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September 19, 2012


By: George Sousouris

BOSTON, Massachusetts: As November 6 approaches, new polls show Question 2 and Question 3 with significant and growing support. However, prominent health care providers and other groups continue to fight back, releasing statements of opposition to both measures.

Question 2, which would allow for a terminally ill patient to be given lethal drugs (also known as assisted suicide), currently is supported by 64% of voters, according to a Suffolk University poll released on Monday. Question 3, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana, found 59% support among likely voters according to the same poll. This is a slight increase from Suffolk's poll conducted in August, in which 58% cited support.[1][2]

Despite such support from voters, the state's largest physicians group spoke out against both measures. President Richard Aghababian stated that suicide is incompatible with the physician's role as healer, and noted his skepticism behind much of the science supporting marijuana's claimed medical benefits. Additionally, the Catholic church has come out in strong opposition to assisted suicide.[2]

In a statement on its website on Monday, that The Massachusetts Medical Society said, "The Massachusetts Medical Society has reaffirmed its commitment to provide physicians treating terminally ill patients with the ethical, medical, social, and legal education, training, and resources to enable them to contribute to the comfort and dignity of the patient and the patient’s family." With regard to marijuana, the group echoed Aghababian's statements, saying that the current research on medical marijuana "would not be accepted as proof of effectiveness for any other medicine under development."[3]

While Governor Deval Patrick (D) appears to be staying out of the debate for both of these measures for the time being, Senator Scott Brown (R), locked in a tight battle with Elizabeth Warren (D), weighed in on September 14. He stated outright opposition to legalizing medical marijuana, but was more vague on Question 2, saying that he had to learn more about the issue before taking sides.[4]

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