Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Washington will become the second state to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication for terminally ill patients seeking to hasten their deaths. Initiative 1000 was leading in most counties across the state Tuesday. "I'm elated," said former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner, who filed the initiative and was one of its biggest campaign contributors. Gardner is battling Parkinson's disease, though Parkinson's is not considered a terminal disease that would qualify under the initiative. Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, a national right-to-die organization based in Denver that has provided financial backing for I-1000, said her group hopes to pass similar initiatives in other states in the future, though it hasn't selected any specific states yet. "We think the citizens of all 50 states deserve death with dignity," she said. Eileen Geller, campaign coordinator for the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide which opposed I-1000, said her group would look at various options to continue the fight against the measure. The hard-fought campaign was "a wake-up call for the state of Washington" that there needs to be improved access and support for end-of-life care, Geller said. I-1000, modeled on a decade-old Oregon law, permits terminally ill, competent adult residents of Washington, who are medically predicted to have six months or less to live, to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician.
Source/more: Seattle Times, http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008352033_1000prop05m.html