Death By Prescription... Assisted Suicide Green-Lighted in Washington

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 12:28am.

Voters in Washington endorsed by a 59 percent to 41 percent margin a plan that makes the state the second in the union to allow residents to choose to die. According to the campaign group, measure I-1000 legalizes assisted suicide and redefines suicide as a medical treatment.

"It would allow doctors to order lethal drug overdoses to people with life-limiting illnesses, even if they are depressed," opponents said.

That is just one of the potential problems, opponents said.

"People who are diagnosed with a life-limiting illness often become depressed," the opponents said. "This depression is usually temporary and treatable. I-1000 does not require assessment or treatment for depression. [I-1000, Section 6]. Because the waiting period is only 15 days, a suicidal 'cry for help' could be met with a bottle of lethal drugs, instead of encouragement and treatment."

The measure also does not require family members to be told and could create a situation similar to Oregon, the only other state that allows assisted suicide, in which a state health plan pays for assisted suicide for a cancer patient but not treatment.

It also has no requirement for a witness, creating the opportunity "for an heir or stressed-out caregiver to administer the lethal overdose to the patient without his consent."

Supporters of the plan raised $5.5 million to promote it, while opponents worked with about $1.5 million, largely raised from Christian groups and individuals.

Suicide proponents say it offers solutions.

"All it does is give terminally ill patients the choice of how and when to end their suffering," says the Yes on 1000 "Death with Dignity Facts" website. "People who choose Death With Dignity have few medical options left. At the end stages, it is compassionate to allow terminally ill patients the choice of ending their suffering."

But the Washington plan has been opposed by a wide range of leaders, including actor Martin Sheen.

"It's a dangerous idea that could be imposed on the poor, disabled and most vulnerable in our society," he said. "People who are ill need real medical care and compassion, not lethal drugs."

The New York Times reported last year 341 people died by their own "choice" in Oregon.

Among the prominent supporters has been a group called Compassion and Choices, formerly was known as the Hemlock Society.

November 04, 2008 - source NewsNetDaily

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 11/06/2008 - 12:28am.