To the editor:

For over four years I have been a hospice volunteer. Additionally I have facilitated almost 24 death cafés — open-ended discussions about the many facets, beliefs and questions about the subject of death - with almost 600 attendees in Massachusetts.

In that time, I have learned many things. Perhaps foremost among them is a deep respect for the wishes of those who are dying, and specifically the desire of some to end their pain, their suffering, their certainty of the end of their lives, and the knowledge that a peaceful, meaningful, well planned death should be their right and their privilege.

If I were terminally ill, mentally capable and facing the prospect of unbearable pain and unrelieved suffering in my final weeks or months of life, I could choose a peaceful, painless death in my sleep by self-ingesting medication prescribed by my physician.

Medical aid in dying is one such means.

This proposal does not mandate it for those who do not wish to do so. It does not force practitioners or families to be responsible for a practice that is contrary to their beliefs.

It does permit those who understand its terms and caveats to end their lives with dignity, timeliness and without pain.

I ask people to contact their state legislators as well as Rep. John Mahoney, co-chairman of the Joint Public Health Committee (john.mahoney@mahouse.gov) and committee member Rep. Andy Vargas (andrew.vargas@mahouse.gov) to urge their support for passage of “The End of Life Options Act.”

Richard Davis

Andover

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