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Poll Shows 70% of Massachusetts Residents Support Medical Aid in Dying

Seven out of 10 Massachusetts residents (70%) support medical aid in dying, according to a poll published by The Boston Globe Monday that the paper conducted jointly with Suffolk University last November.

The poll’s release is timely because Massachusetts lawmakers still have time before the end of the legislative session to pass the End of Life Options Act (S. 2745/H. 1926) that would authorize medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option for mentally capable, terminally ill state residents. 

The poll of “public opinion on issues related to death and dying” was cited in the first part of a new series by the Globe’s Spotlight investigative reporting team about health disparities. Titled “Is death the great equalizer?” (article access may require subscription), the story cites the results of the poll’s medical aid-in-dying question:

“Massachusetts in 2012 narrowly defeated a medical aid in dying referendum; the Globe/Suffolk poll suggests voters have potentially changed on the issue, with about 70 percent now in favor of legalizing it.”

Majority support for medical aid in dying among the 500 Massachusetts residents surveyed in the poll spanned the demographic, ethnic and geographic spectrum (see question 9 on page 5 here): 

  • Male: 70%
  • Female: 69%
  • Worcester/Western Massachusetts: 70%
  • Suffolk: 75%
  • Southeast Massachusetts/Cape: 68%
  • 18–34: 75%
  • 35–44: 65%
  • 45–54: 73%
  • 55–64: 75%
  • 65+: 68%
  • White: 73%
  • Black: 64%
  • Hispanic: 50%
  • Asian: 52%

In May, two Massachusetts newspapers, The Daily Hampshire Gazette and The Berkshire Eagle, endorsed the End of Life Options Act and urged the Legislature to pass it. Below are excerpts of each editorial.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, “Editorial: Time to act on ‘death with dignity’ bill,” May 28, 2020 

“For some, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought end-of-life issues into renewed focus … As we’ve editorialized on these pages several times over the years, the time to pass this bill [the End of Life Options Act] is overdue … Lawmakers must advance it.”

The Berkshire Eagle editorial, “Our Opinion: Time has come for End of Life Options Act,” May 21, 2020

“…with COVID-19…prompting a renewed focus on end-of-life issues, we believe that this will be the time the legislation [the End of Life Options Act] becomes law …”

Subsequently, in June the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Public Health approved the End of Life Options Act for consideration by the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. 

Compassion & Choices is urging Massachusetts newspapers statewide to endorse the End of Life Options Act to encourage the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to approve the bill and both houses of the Legislature to pass it.


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