Wednesday November 7, 2012

BOSTON (AP) -- Supporters of a ballot question that would legalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill in Massachusetts have conceded defeat, even though the vote is too close to call.

A spokesman for the Death With Dignity Act campaign said in a statement early Wednesday that "regrettably, we fell short."

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, opponents of the measure were ahead by about 38,000 votes.

If passed, Massachusetts would become the third state to allow terminally ill patients to get help from their doctors to end their lives with lethal doses of medication.

Religious, medical and disability rights groups fought the measure.

The Committee Against Physician Assisted Suicide said Wednesday "we believe there is a good chance this will be defeated" and hopes the question is a way to start a discussion of end-of-life care.

The question did carry in Berkshire County, where 35,883 people voted yes, while 25,231 opposed it.