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Massachusetts Ballot Initiatives Results

Question 2: “Death with Dignity”

Massachusetts voted against allowing physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. Question 2, known as “Death with Dignity,” faced strong opposition from outspoken patients, prominent physicians and the Roman Catholic Church.

“Supporters of a ballot question legalizing physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in Massachusetts have conceded defeat, even though the vote is too close to call,” according to NECN. “With 93 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday, opponents of the measure were ahead by about 38,000 votes.”

“For the past year, the people of Massachusetts participated in an open and honest conversation about allowing terminally-ill patients the choice to end their suffering. The Death with Dignity Act offered the terminally-ill the right to make that decision for themselves, but regrettably, we fell short,” a spokesperson for Death with Dignity said.

Earlier this year, a Suffolk University poll showed strong support for the initiative.

The Roman Catholic Church, the largest religious tradition in Massachusetts, remained vocal against “Death with Dignity.” Tradition maintains that human life is sacred from conception to death; therefore, hastening death is a mortal sin.

According to Pew Research, 43 percent of Massachusetts residents identify as Catholics. Massachusetts has a larger percentage of Catholics than any other state.

Question 3: Medical marijuana

Massachusetts voted to allow suffering and chronically ill patients the freedom to use medical marijuana. Controversial Question 3 passed by a 2 to 1 margin (63-37 percent). Physicians are allowed to prescribe 60-day supplies of the drug to qualifying patients that could benefit.

“This proposed law would eliminate state criminal and civil penalties for the medical use of marijuana by qualifying patients,” according to the Secretary of State of Massachusetts. “To qualify, a patient must have been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition, such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV-positive status or AIDS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, or multiple sclerosis. ” A patient must then receive written certification by a physician who deems the drug beneficial.