BOSTON – Leaders on opposite sides of Massachusetts’ right to die debate are fighting for the same reason: Both have watched loved ones receive fatal diagnoses.

Dr. Marcia Angell supports the initiative. Her father shot himself to death rather than die from metastatic prostate cancer in 1988.

She believes he would have lived longer and not turned to a pistol had assisted suicide been available.

Rosanne Bacon Meade’s sister-in-law is still fighting cancer, 18 months after doctors gave her three months to live.

She opposes the measure, saying diagnoses are often wrong.

Voters will weigh in Nov. 6 on a ballot question to make Massachusetts the third state, after Oregon and Washington, to legalize physician-assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses.

Money has poured in to the Massachusetts campaigns from both supporters and opponents.

The measure would allow terminally ill patients whose doctors say they have six months or less to live to obtain lethal doses of medication.

A Suffolk University/7 NEWS poll in September found 64 percent of 600 likely Massachusetts voters support legalization, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The initiative stems from a petition filed by Boston-based Dignity 2012 and from a terminally ill Stoughton man’s 2009 attempt to get a similar bill passed in the state legislature.

 

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