Thursday, October 30, 2008

Join the people against assisted suicide in Washington

Ok - this is an issue in my state & I can't believe I haven't put any posts about it.

I remember hearing about Barbara Wagner on the Victoria Taft show before she passed away. It is truly a conflict of interest for the state - the state saves more money if they pay for the suicide instead of the cancer treatment. The state government "tries" to save money in the budget - which they are suppose to do - but by doing so - they are recommending suicide to people. That is not the government's place to recommend suicide to patients. The government is suppose to protect life - not encourage suicide.

Here is some information about the measure:
All information from:

"What is I-1000?

I-1000 would legalize assisted suicide and redefine suicide as a medical treatment. It would allow doctors to order lethal drug overdoses to people with life-limiting illnesses, even if they are depressed.

What's wrong with I-1000?

I-1000 lacks real protection for people suffering from depression and mental illness.
People who are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness often become depressed. This depression is usually temporary and treatable. I-1000 does not require assessment or treatment for depression. [I-1000, Section 6]. Because the waiting period is only 15 days, a suicidal "cry for help" could be met with a bottle of lethal drugs, instead of encouragement and treatment.

I-1000 harms spouses and families.
Under I-1000, a spouse or family member need not be told about the lethal overdose. [I-1000, Section 8]. Families might never know the truth of how their loved one died.

I-1000 endangers our health care, especially for the poor.
With the passage of I-1000, health plans would be given an incentive to cut costs by steering patients towards suicide. In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, this is already occurring. Consider Barbara Wagner. The Oregon Health plan refused to pay for a cancer drug to prolong her life, but did offer to pay for her assisted suicide. Unable to afford the drug herself, she was steered towards suicide. See above video.

I-1000 does not require a witness at the death.
Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Most importantly, I-1000 does not require that the death by lethal overdose be witnessed. See I-1000 entire text (no witness required at the death) at

Without a required witness, the opportunity is created for an heir or stressed-out caregiver to administer the lethal overdose to the patient without his consent. Even if he struggled, who would know? With no required witness, I-1000 creates the perfect alibi.

What's wrong with Oregon's law?
Since Oregon passed its law in 1994, physician-assisted suicide and/or euthanasia proposals have been introduced in 21 states, some multiple times. Not one has passed.

In Oregon, the state health plan pays for assisted suicide but doesn't pay for some chemotherapy for people with cancer. I-1000 is similar to -- but more expansive than -- Oregon's problem-filled assisted suicide law.
Why I-1000 is more dangerous than Oregon's law.

I-1000 is written more broadly than Oregon’s law, has less accountability, more secrecy, and contains significantly less protection for everyone except a small group of pro- assisted suicide doctors and bureaucrats.

Who opposes I-1000?

National and State Medical Associations oppose I-1000
Assisted suicide is opposed by the American Medical Association and state medical associations in 49 states, including Washington. (WSMA press release, July 2, 2008). The 9,000 member Washington State Medical Association “strongly opposes” I-1000. (WSMA Brochure, "I-1000 is not the Answer".)

Prominent Democrats and Republicans oppose I-1000.
Liberals and conservatives, pro-choice and pro-life people across Washington have joined together in opposition to Initiative 1000 because it is a dangerous law that goes too far.

Many prominent national and local disability rights organizations oppose I-1000.
Society often dismisses the value and quality of the lives of people with disabilities, making many disabled people vulnerable to pressure and manipulation. Many people with life-limiting illnesses also struggle with disabilities and are therefore vulnerable to assisted suicide.

We don't need I-1000

The people of Washington can already choose to refuse any medical treatment they don't want. They can already choose to receive good end-of-life and hospice care, excellent pain control, and the relief of discomfort. The people of Washington need quality end-of-life care, not the lethal drug overdose I-1000 prescribes.

Proponents of I-1000 argue that it is a humane step toward improving healthcare. Suicide is, however, not a medical "treatment." Patients have a right to care, not suicide. In the words of Professor Rheba de Tornyay:

"Do we want a potentially dangerous law that fewer than 50 people a year use in Oregon? ... Or do we want to spend our resources assuring the preservation and expansion of Medicare and private insurance hospice benefits to promote a peaceful
end so that all our citizens might truly experience death with dignity?"

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