Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Nov
  • 8

Obama re-elected; Question 2 defeated

Posted By November 8, 2012 | 1:12 pm | Lead Story #1

By William T. Clew

The defeat of Question 2, the so-called “Death with Dignity” proposal which would have allowed doctors in Massachusetts to assist certain patients to commit suicide, was greeted with approval Wednesday by some of those in the Worcester Diocese who worked against its passage.
The measure was defeated by a margin of 51 percent to 49 percent. Advocates conceded defeat Wednesday morning.
“It is with a deep sense of thanksgiving to God that I have learned that Question 2 was voted down by the people of Massachusetts,” Bishop McManus said.  “It is important, however, that we do not see this as the end of a road but a new beginning to focus on needed palliative and hospice services for the dying so that they are cared for in a dignified way until the time of natural death.”
Msgr. Peter R. Beaulieu, director of Mission Integration and Pastoral Care, said, “while the electorate sensibly rejected tainting the healthcare profession by making the physician an illegitimate accomplice in hastening death, the narrow margin illustrates the enormous work before all people of goodwill: To enhance care at the end-of-life while emphasizing two crucial aspects of life: living well and dying well.”
Dr. Mark Rollo called the defeat of Question 2 “good news” and a “tremendous victory for the people of Massachusetts.” He said that the initial poling showed that, a few months ago, 68 percent of voters would have said yes to the bill.
He said it was  “a concerted effort by doctors, by nurses, by religious leaders, by disability groups, by hospice groups to educate people to knock this down from 68 to 49 and a big loss for the so-called ‘Death with Dignity’ people. This would not have expanded choice but would have limited choice and ultimately steered people toward suicide, especially the vulnerable and the weakest among us.”
Dr. Rollo, a family practitioner in Fitchburg, is affiliated with the Massachusetts Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide.
“We’re elated that we beat it,” said Roger Dubuque who, with his wife Joyce and others at Christ the King Parish in Worcester, worked to defeat the ballot question.
“We have a committee that has been working non-stop since early June to get the education out so that people understood exactly what this referendum contained,” he said. “We have done this through a series of email blasts. We call it the ‘Power of 10.’ Each person would contact 10 people and those people would contact 10 people and so on.”
He said he was part of a group of about 10 parishioners who created a referendum committee.
“They  were wonderful,” he said. “A lot of credit also has to go to Msgr. Sullivan (Msgr. Thomas J. Sullivan, pastor of Christ the King) for his leadership in this entire referendum process.”
Mr. Dubuque said he and others are concerned that the proponent of the ballot question “may be coming back in two or four years with the same referendum request. As far as we’re concerned. the fight its not over and we must continue to be vigilant.”
“This was a tremendous come-from-behind victory,” said Dr. John Howland of Southbridge, regional director of the Catholic Medical Association and founder of Doctors Against Suicide. “We were way behind in the polls just a few weeks ago. Thanks to the efforts of a broad coalition across the state we were successful in helping the voters understand the flaws and dangers of physician-assisted suicide. Patients need care, not killing. We should all now rededicate ourselves to the compassionate care of those at the end of life. Let us all give thanks to God that this ballot measure has been defeated.”
Allison LeDoux, diocesan director of the Respect Life Office said, “the vote against the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is a powerful witness to the dignity of every human person no matter how compromised their lives may seem.
“We thank in a very special way all those who helped to get the word out – our priests and deacons who so faithfully preached the truth, our local Catholic media, our Catholic doctors who went above and beyond to help us to defend the integrity of the medical profession and the lives of their patients, and all the faithful who were really the “leaven” by spreading the word, organizing events, volunteering, holding signs on street corners, and so much more.
“We also thank all of our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the country for their prayers and help in getting the word out.  Most especially, we thank Bishop McManus for his courageous leadership, encouragement and support.  The defeat of Question 2 offers a bright light in dark times.  May we continue to be vigilant and prayerful in the days ahead as we work unceasingly to build a culture of life.”