Mass. Poll Shows Strong Support for Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Across Demographic Spectrum

May 3, 2023

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First Statewide Poll on Issue Among Key Constituencies Shows Strong Support Among
Catholics, Pro-Choice/Anti-Choice Voters, People With Disabilities

Nearly three out of four Massachusetts voters (73%) support a bill to allow terminally ill adults the option of medical aid in dying to peacefully end unbearable suffering, and nearly eight out of ten voters (79%) support the bill after they learn about its safeguards, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

The survey conducted by Beacon Research March 13-21, 2023, is the first poll on this issue to measure support among several key constituencies, including Catholic voters, self-described “pro-choice” and “pro-life” voters on abortion, and voters living with disabilities. Majority support for passing Massachusetts medical-aid-in-dying legislation, the End of Life Options Act, spans the age, geographic, political, race, religious and reproductive rights spectrums.

  • Sizable majorities of every demographic group favor passing the bill, including 76% of white voters63% of voters of color, 77% of voters under age 45 and 74% of senior voters.
  • At least seven in 10 voters (70%-75%) in every region of the state support the bill, as do 79% of Democrats, 71% of unenrolled voters, 68% of Republicans, 89% of strongly pro-choice voters, 68% of moderate pro-choice voters and a plurality of pro-life voters (47% vs. 43%).
  • More than two-thirds of Catholic voters (68%), Protestant voters (71%) and voters living with a disability (68%) back the measure.
  • After hearing these facts about the law, support for the bill increases from 73% to 79%, with particular gains among both independent/unenrolled voters and those in households earning less than $100,000 per year (+7 points), Catholics (+8), and those living with disabilities (+9).
JoAnn Vizziello with husband in hospital

JoAnn Vizziello with husband, Phil

“Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly support having a choice to end unbearable pain and needless suffering while dying,” said JoAnn Vizziello, JD, who has incurable blood cancer and lives on the North Shore. “I don’t want to be in unbearable pain and suffering when I die. I also don’t want to be so doped up on morphine that I’m barely conscious during the countless days or weeks it could take my body to completely break down. I want to be in my own home, aware of my surroundings and in the arms of my loving husband. I implore state lawmakers to pass the Massachusetts End of Life Options Act.”

Sponsored by Senator Jo ComerfordRepresentative James O’Day and Representative Ted Philips, the End of Life Options Act (H. 2246/S.1331) would allow mentally sound, terminally ill adults the option of obtaining prescription medication they could decide to take to gently end unbearable suffering. Medical aid in dying is an option for terminally ill adults in neighboring Vermont and nearby Maine, as well as eight other states, CaliforniaColoradoHawaiiMontana (via a state Supreme Court ruling), New JerseyNew MexicoOregonWashington, and Washington, D.C.

Gov. Healey supports legislative action to allow medical aid in dying, provided it includes sufficient safeguards for both patients and providers,” her spokesperson told CommonWealth Magazine on Feb. 26. A 2017 internal survey of Massachusetts Medical Society members showed they support the End of Life Options Act by a 2-1 margin: 62 percent support vs. 28 percent oppose (see page 9 chart here).

The memo from Beacon Research summarizing the poll results is available: view here.

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