Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Assisted Suicide Approved in Washington State

After hearing about the results of this important vote in Washington State on the radio this afternoon, I found the following from the Wall Street Journal:

Washington Passes Initiative 1000, Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide
Posted by Jacob Goldstein

Voters in Washington State gave a clear answer yesterday to a thorny ethical question: Should a doctor be allowed to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to a dying patient?

A state measure known as Initiative 1000 passed by a margin of 59% to 41%, making it legal for doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for patients with less than six months to live.

As we reported last week, the law is packed with provisions intended to limit the practice. Patients must make two separate requests, orally and in writing, more than two weeks apart; must be of sound mind and not suffering from depression; and must have their request approved by two separate doctors. Doctors are not allowed to administer the lethal dose.

Backers of the bill, including national right-to-die organizations and a former Democratic governor who has Parkinson’s, raised $4.9 million to support it. Opponents, including several Catholic organizations, raised $1.6 million to fund their fight, the Seattle Times reports.

In Oregon, the only other state with a similar law, some 341 patients have committed physician-assisted suicide in the 11 years the law has been in effect, the New York Times reported last week.

This is not a good sign regarding our attitude toward life in this country. Viewed together with the atrocity of legalized abortion on demand, we see the erosion of the value of human life coming from both ends of the spectrum. What is to keep us from adopting mandatory euthanasia measures for the sick and infirm, not to mention those in frail, vegetative states? I fear for the future. The very question of life's value hangs in an ever-tipping balance and our culture seems intent on being its own god in determining the beginning and end of our own existence. This is clearly self-destructive and self-defeating.

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