Washington Officials File Rules for Assisted Suicide Law to Take Effect in March

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 23, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Officials File Rules for Assisted Suicide Law to Take Effect in March

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 23
, 2009

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — Officials with the state health department in Washington have filed the rules that must be followed under the new assisted suicide law. Voters in Washington approved making the state the second to legalize the grisly practice of assisted suicide by a narrow margin on a ballot vote last year.

The assisted suicide law, which takes effect March 5, makes it so physicians can legally write a lethal prescription for their patients that they can use to kill themselves.

The rules include the forms doctors must complete beforehand as well as papers for consulting physicians, psychological consultants and pharmacists who participate in authorizing the deadly cocktail.

Under the law, the lethal drugs can only be given to a patient who is terminally ill and expected to die within six months, although that hasn’t always been the case in Oregon. The patients must administer the drugs themselves.

Responding to the new law, assisted suicide opponents have been organizing doctors and hospitals to resist the measure.

The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide has been working to get medical professionals to create assisted suicide free zones.

Eileen Geller and Carrie Herring previously told 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. The pair say some physicians and healthcare facilities don’t know that Initiative 1000 allows them to assert their right to refrain from involvement in the practice.

On the other side, Robb Miller, executive director of the pro-euthanasia Compassion & Choices of Washington, tells the Bellingham Herald that his group is compiling lists of doctors and medical centers where patients can go to take their lives.

"I’m telling people don’t worry so much. We’ll help you," he said. "[The opt-out clause] isn’t that much of a deterrent to a person who is determined to use the law."

Although some private and Catholic health care systems, like PeaceHealth, will not be offering assisted suicides, patients under the care of a Catholic health center have found ways to get doctors to kill them.

George Eighmey, executive director of the Oregon affiliate of the pro-euthanasia group, says 40 of the 341 people who took their own lives under that state’s law were under the care of a Catholic health system or doctor working in one.

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

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.