Washington Assisted Suicide Opponents Trail Nearly 12-1 in Fundraising
by Steven Ertelt
July 14, 2008
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — Voters in Washington state head to the polls in November to decided whether to make it the second, after Oregon, to legalize assisted suicide. In the coming months, they’ll likely see a one-sided campaign in favor of I-1000 because the backers of the initiative have a nearly 12-1 advantage in fundraising.
The numbers should light a fire under pro-life advocates, patient and disability rights groups and medical professionals who don’t want euthanasia to expand.
Backers of the assisted suicide proposal turned in more than enough signatures earlier this month to likely qualify for the ballot.
And when the debate begins, a new Vancouver Columbian article shows proponents will have a significant money advantage.
The campaign for the initiative has raised $1,124,000 with $315,000 coming in from the group that made assisted suicide legal in Oregon. The main group opposing I-1000 has raised just $95,600.
While opponents have raised all of their money from Washington residents, assisted suicide crusaders have brought in funds from out of state.
"Most of our donations come from Washington, Oregon, California, New York and Florida," Peg Sandeen, the executive director of the Oregon-based Death With Dignity National Center, admitted to the newspaper.
To help engender more support across party lines, two attorneys are working with a group of state legislators who are Democrats to create a new Democrats Against Assisted Suicide organization.
Sen. Margarita Prentice, chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, is a member of the new group and says the proposal has significant problems.
"This very dangerous initiative never would have passed the Legislature," she said, adding that lower-income and lower-educated residents would face pressure to end their lives instead of receiving further medical care.
Meanwhile, Dan Duringer, of the group LifePAC, told the newspaper that assisted suicide will lead to euthanasia.
"We understand the convenience of people wanting to have control at the end of their lives, but this also takes away control from people who are vulnerable," he said. "Coercion can be a very subtle thing."
"We don’t think the safeguards are there or can be there," he added. "There’s a real concern when Mr. Gardner says this is just the first shot. We know he wants to go further."
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.
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.
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