Human Exceptionalism

Weighing in on Initiative 1000

By Bobby Schindler

Columnist Joel Connelly chimes in again regarding the state of Washington’s effort (Initiative 1000) to legalize physician assisted suicide. You can read his previous column and Wesley’s remarks.

Connelly exposes the overwhelming disparity as far as the money raised from both sides. From the article:

As of the latest reports, however, the pro-Initiative 1000 campaign has raised $950,000. The Committee Against Assisted Suicide has collected just $61,000. The bulk of the pro-I-1000 war chest comes from out of state. The biggest bucks have flowed from five “Compassion in Choices” committees across the country ($117,100), the Euthanasia Research and Guidance Organization ($3,500), the Oregon Death With Dignity PAC ($315,000), the Death with Dignity National Center ($15,000) and a group called the Final Exit Network of Georgia ($1,000).

Then there is the question of the so called safeguards when it comes to allowing this practice.

What issues should citizens take to mind? Safeguards in the Oregon law are a place to begin. The Oregon law contains no requirement to notify the family of a patient requesting aid in taking his or her life. Nor does it require that a patient receive mental health counseling.

“The law is written so you just have to be within six months of dying: You do not have to be suffering and you don’t have to have psychiatric assistance,” said Hendin.

In a University of Michigan Law Review article, Hendin and Dr. Kathleen Foley, a professor at the Cornell University medical college, use a half-dozen cases to challenge Oregon’s safeguards. They argue elderly patients have been pressured to die.

Connelly does go on to give equal time to the other side of the argument regarding safeguards. Nevertheless, it looks like we will know soon if Initiative 1000 will be on the ballot this November in the state of Washington.

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