Washington Assisted Suicide Opponents Continue Organizing Doctors, Hospitals

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Assisted Suicide Opponents Continue Organizing Doctors, Hospitals

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 20
, 2009

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — Assisted suicide opponents are continuing their efforts to organize doctors and hospitals to resist the measure state voters approved to make the state the second to legalize the practice. The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide has been working to get medical professionals to create assisted suicide free zones.

Eileen Geller and Carrie Herring tell LifeNews.com they are hearing from Washington citizens who want to patronize doctors and medical centers committed to refusing to be involved in assisted suicides.

To that end, they are working with medical centers and staff to gain commitments that they will not be places that will agree to a patient’s request for a lethal cocktail.

They say time is of the essence and that more commitments to help and not kill patients should be put into place.

"Since this life-ending law takes effect in a few weeks — on March 4th — we have only a very short time in which to minimize its dangerous effects," the group says.

Although the phone at CAAS has been ringing off the hook with requests for more assisted suicide free zones, the group tells LifeNews.com there is some confusion in the medical community.

"Unfortunately, some physicians and healthcare facilities don’t know that Initiative 1000 allows them to assert their right to refrain from involvement in physician-assisted suicide," they say.

The organization is asking for citizen involvement.

"The situation is urgent: Your own doctor or healthcare facility may at this moment be considering whether to facilitate patients’ suicides," the group says. "Hospital and nursing home boards are meeting this month to determine policies regarding assisted suicide, so the time to contact them is right now."

The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide has created sample letters people can use to send to their hospital or doctor, nursing home or pharmacy, and other health clinics notifying them of their right under I-1000 to opt out of involvement in assisted suicide.

"It is essential that these health care providers hear from people like us, people who will re-echo the position held by the Washington State Medical Association that physician-assisted suicide contradicts the very mission of healthcare and endangers vulnerable patients who deserve care and comfort," the group says.

"Reminding them that people want to support healthcare providers we can trust with our lives may encourage patient-protective policies instead of lethal ones," they add.

The group provides letters on its web site along with contact information for various hospitals.

Oregon was the first state to legalize assisted suicide and Washington became the second following the approval of I-1000.

Montana is partly on the way to become the third state thanks to a decision by a state judge to overturn the state law against assisted suicides. Depending on the outcome of the lawsuit at the state supreme court level, Montana may join the ranks.

Related web sites:
Coalition Against Assisted Suicide – https://www.noassistedsuicide.com

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