Washington Becomes Second State to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Election Vote

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 5, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Becomes Second State to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Election Vote

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 5
, 2008

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — The state of Washington has joined Oregon to become the second state in the nation to legalize the grisly practice of assisted suicide. Voters in the northwestern state approved I-1000 despite strong opposition from pro-life groups, doctors organizations, disability rights activists and Catholic voters.

With 42 percent of the vote counted in the state, I-1000 carried with the support of 58 percent of voters compared with 42 percent who opposed assisted suicide.

Opponents of assisted suicide had a hard time competing with the money thrown at them from the pro-euthanasia groups that outspent them as much as 12-1 thanks to out-of-state money.

"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 during the campaign.

With the law now in place, attention will turn to the kind of abuses that have been seen in Oregon.

“If passed this November, Initiative 1000 will transform the legal landscape of the State of Washington. The change would parallel Oregon’s decade-long acceptance of assisted suicide, a practice that has given rise to a myriad of problems,” pro-life attorney Ken Conner wrote before the vote.

The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide told LifeNews.com that the prestigious Michigan Law Review compiled an analysis of the ramifications of Oregon’s assisted suicide law and the evidence wasn’t pretty.

In the legal paper, Dr. Herbert Hendin, psychiatrist and CEO/Medical Director of Suicide Prevention International, a nonprofit organization located in New York, and Dr. Kathleen Foley, neurologist and professor at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, examined the Oregon story.

The Hendin-Foley study cited specific examples where opinions of patients’ long-time attending physicians are ignored and doctors with only a smattering of familiarity with the patient write the prescription for the lethal dose of barbiturates.

Also, researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University recently released the results of a study showing one-fourth of the people killed in assisted suicides in Oregon were depressed but received lethal cocktails anyway.

Of the patients involved, 26 percent were independently diagnosed with depression. they weren’t treated — giving credence to the notion that assisted suicide is a cure looking for a problem.

Related web sites:
Washington Coalition Against Assisted Suicide – https://www.noassistedsuicide.com
Human Life of Washington — https://www.humanlife.net

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