Spokesman’s Son, Disability Groups Oppose Washington Assisted Suicide Prop
by Steven Ertelt
June 16, 2008
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — The Initiative 1000 measure that would make Washington the second state, following Oregon, to legalize assisted suicide, is drawing expected opposition from pro-life groups and medical professionals. But the son of the proposal’s spokesman and disability groups are opposed as well.
Booth Gardner the millionaire former governor of the state, is the lead spokesman for the I-1000 assisted suicide proposal.
Gardner suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which is incurable but not fatal and he would not qualify to use the assisted suicide measure to take his own life. However, it prompted his desire to speak up for those who may want to take advantage of the grisly idea.
Yet, his assisted suicide advocacy has hurt his relationship with his son.
Gardner’s 46-year-old son, Doug, told the Associated Press the two didn’t talk for some time after Booth started pushing I-1000. While their relationship has improved since, Doug told AP he will join the coalition of groups and residents against the assisted suicide measure.
"I love him, I want the best for him," Doug Gardner said. "But don’t make it easier for these people who are in a weak state to have an opt-out option."
Meanwhile, disability rights groups like Not Dead Yet are speaking up as well and saying the proposal discriminates against and targets the disabled.
They say disabled people who are worried they will become a burden to their families need psychological help and pain relief for their conditions — not en encouragement to die.
"This capitalizes on those fears people have about a disability, about people losing bodily control and function, that people would be better off dead than having to face that," NDY spokesman Duane French told AP.
I-1000 backers have to submit 224,800 valid signatures to the secretary of state by July 3 to qualify the measure for the Washington ballot.
Last year, pro-life advocates were successful in stopping assisted suicide in California, Hawaii, and Vermont. They worried Washington would join Oregon, where assisted suicides are at an all time high.
This isn’t the first time euthanasia backers have tried to get the state to authorize assisted suicide. In 1991, 54 percent of state voters rejected Initiative 119, which, unlike this new measure, allowed doctors to administer the drugs.