To help voters prepare for ballot question 2—whether terminally ill patients should be allowed to end their life with doctor-prescribed medications— the Needham Lyceum of First Parish and the League of Women Voters are co-sponsoring an informational forum on Sunday, October 14, at 7 pm in the Meetinghouse of First Parish in Needham, 23 Dedham Avenue.
For many, the question raises deeply personal and challenging moral and ethical questions. Two speakers will present their opposing views: Kevin Kozin, MTS, LICSW, a representative from Dignity 2012 who is in favor of the ballot initiative, and Jane A Driver, MD, MPD, a representative from the Committee Against Physician-Assisted Suicide who is opposed.
Kozin is a practicing social worker and therapist and is on the board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Driver is a Geriatric Oncologist in the Division of Aging at Brigham and Women's Hospital and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. The conversation will be moderated by Rev. Katie Lee Crane, Interim Minister at First Parish in Needham.
As described by the State Attorney General and the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the proposed law would allow a physician licensed in Massachusetts to prescribe medication, at a terminally ill patient’s request, to end that patient’s life.
To qualify, a patient would have to be an adult resident who (1) is medically determined to be mentally capable of making and communicating health care decisions; (2) has been diagnosed by attending and consulting physicians as having an incurable, irreversible disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, cause death within six months; and (3) voluntarily expresses a wish to die and has made an informed decision. The proposed law states that the patient would ingest the medicine in order to cause death in a humane and dignified manner.
First Parish is fully accessible and located just off the town square at 23 Dedham Ave (route 135). Please enter through the Lincoln Street doors and follow signs to the Lyceum. There is ample parking in the town lot off of Lincoln Street. For more information, go to www.uuneedham.org or call the Parish office at 781-444-0823.