Politics for Dummies

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A blank ballot from the General Election in 2008. A similar ballot will be issued next week for Massachusetts voters. Photo by Tennis-Bargains.com

by Tessa Dinnie

Most Hudson High students don’t have the privilege to vote in this year’s election, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have an opinion on any of the issues. Last week, I did a feature on Physician Assisted Suicide, a question on Massachusetts’ ballot this year. It’s a controversial topic that has many pros and cons to it.

Knowing that several classes have talked about the issue around the school, I decided to do a survey on how they would vote on the issue if they could. The two questions on the survey were “ Do you think that Physician Assisted Suicide should be passed in Massachusetts?” and “Do you believe that it’s ethical for doctors to use their power to prescribe terminally ill patients a lethal dose of drugs to end their life?”

There were a lot of different opinions among the students I surveyed, and it was interesting to see young individuals have such a passionate response to the question.

“In my opinion, physician assisted suicide is very wrong and unneeded in our world,” says sophomore Julia Barry. “‘In an article I read called ‘Should Mass. Voters Approve  Physician Assisted Suicide?’, it says a prognosis of six months to live is an educated guess. Doctors are like weather forecasters: their ability to foresee the future is far from perfect.’ When I read that, I realized that I do not support this because no one really knows when they are going to die, and just because they are a doctor makes them know? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Many others found that physician assisted suicide is a good thing to bring to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

“I am in favor of assisted suicide. If someone has a condition so painful that they want to end their life to not feel the pain, they should be able to,” says sophomore Jason Swain. “My father has Lou Gehrig’s disease, and he says that when he reaches the point where he cannot move, that there is no point in living.”

Some students see it as a private and personal issue.

“I believe that the government has no right to be involved in this area,” says senior Shannon Nugent. “This is our personal life.”

Regardless of whether students believe that physician assisted suicide should be legal, most students aren’t eligible to vote and make a change. As November 6 nears closer and closer, students are going to have to wait for the votes to be counted and see the results.