Widespread support (including Catholic) in Massachusetts for another form of legalized murder: “assisted suicide”
From: Massachusetts voters support medical marijuana and ‘death with dignity’ ballot initiatives
The [Springfield, Massachusetts] Republican
Sixty percent of Bay State voters said they support allowing terminally ill people to legally obtain medication to end their lives, according to the latest survey from Western New England University Polling Institute in partnership with The Republican and MassLive.com.
The survey asked voters whether they supported or opposed “allowing people who are dying to legally obtain medication that they could use to end their lives.”
Support for the “death with dignity” proposal outnumbered opposition by a margin of two to one in the Western New England University survey, with 60 percent of voters saying they support the idea, 29 percent opposing it and 11 percent saying they did not know or declining to provide a response.
John, a former high school teacher living in Holyoke who asked not to be identified by his last name, said his family’s experiences with cancer and other terminal illnesses shaped his support of the “death with dignity” option.
“I think it should be a matter of personal choice,” he said. “If someone is at the end of their life with a terminal illness and it may continue for six months or a year with terrible suffering and pain, why not give them the option? To me, it is freedom of choice.”
And although John identifies as Catholic, he said that he does not attend services and his religion holds no impact on his stance on the subject.
According to the data, opinions varied along party lines, with 67 percent of Democrats favoring the proposal, compared to 58 percent of independents and 53 percent of Republicans.
Support for the measure also varied by age.
While 61 percent of voters ages 18 to 49 and 72 percent of voters ages 50 to 64 support the idea, the same was true for only 46 percent of voters ages 65 and older.
Respondents who were 65 and older also were the most likely of any demographic group to say they were not sure or to decline to answer the question, with 20 percent choosing those options.
Views about the “death with dignity” proposal also varied by religion and religious observance.
Although a majority of Catholic and Protestant voters said they support the proposal, their opinions tend to vary based on how often they attend religious services.
Fifty-two percent of all Catholic voters said they support the idea, 36 percent said they oppose it, and 12 percent said they did not know or declined to answer. But among Catholic voters who attend church at least once a week or almost every week, 52 percent opposed the “death with dignity” proposal and only 37 percent said they support it.
Deborah Greene, a 56-year-old Catholic from Milton who said she attends church services almost every week, opposes the “death with dignity” option.
“I’m against it because I just don’t think it’s right,” Greene said. “It is a religious conflict.”
Catholic voters who attend church less frequently – about once a month, seldom or never – backed the idea by more than a two-to-one margin, 62 percent to 25 percent.
Among all Protestant voters, 56 percent supported the proposal, and 28 percent were opposed. Opinion was much more narrowly divided among Protestant voters who attend services at least once a week or almost every week, with 42 percent opposed and 38 percent in favor.
The results indicate that religious identity is not the only distinguishing factor when it comes to views on this issue. Responses varied not just by religious identity, but also by religious observance. When it comes to Catholics and Protestants, the more ‘churched’ you are, so to speak, the more likely you are to oppose the ‘death with dignity’ proposal.
Voters from other religious backgrounds [for example, Jewish] overwhelmingly supported the measure, with 76 percent in favor and 19 percent opposed. Voters who identified themselves as atheists or agnostic backed the idea by an almost nine-to-one margin.