Washington Poll Shows Support for Measure to Legalize Assisted Suicide
by Steven Ertelt
August 5, 2008
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — A new poll shows a plurality of voters favor a measure appearing on the November ballot in Washington that would make the state the second to legalize assisted suicide. Only Oregon currently allows the grisly practice and I-1000 would have Washington state follow suit.
The latest statewide Elway Poll of Washington voters shows so many voters are undecided about where they stand on the measure that neither side has a majority.
Some 39 percent of those polled said they favor the assisted suicide measure while 26 percent opposed it.
The poll of 405 registered voters was taken July 27-31, with a margin of sampling error at 5 percentage points.
The debate over the assisted suicide proposal could turn into a one-sided affair if only because backers of the initiative have a nearly 12-1 advantage in fundraising.
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 Vancouver Columbian newspaper last month.
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."
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