Election 2008

Washington, Washington state

Assisted Suicide Measure Passes in Washington State

November 05, 2008 10:45 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
Washington voters have passed a physician-assisted suicide measure.

Physician-Assisted Suicide Surfaces Again

With 43 percent of the anticipated vote counted on Election Day, Initiative 1000 was leading 58 percent to 42 percent, according to KIRO-TV. The initiative is similar to Oregon's "Death with Dignity" law, allowing terminally-ill, mentally-competent people decide whether to end their lives.

Critics of the measure expressed concern that depressed or otherwise vulnerable individuals who feel they are a bother to their families would take advantage of physician-assisted suicide unnecessarily, according to The Seattle Times.

Others, however, felt the option was empowering. “This is a very personal decision,” Anne Martens, spokeswoman for Yes on I-1000, told the paper. “I wouldn’t make this decision for anybody else and I don’t want anybody else making it for me.”

For supporters of the measure, this was the “best-funded drive for physician-assisted suicide ever,” according to The Olympian.
The Catholic Church was the primary opponent to the assisted-suicide idea, but the church didn’t fight the initiative as strongly as it had in the past.

Background: Physician-assisted suicide in Oregon

Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide 11 years ago, and the passage of time has not turned “the worst fears” into reality, according to The New York Times. “Large numbers of people have not moved to Oregon to take advantage of the measure.” In fact, no other state has ever passed an assisted suicide law.

Other states have tried to follow Oregon’s lead. However, voters in California, Michigan and Maine all rejected similar proposals. Even Washington voters previously rejected an assisted-suicide bill in 1991, The Seattle Times reported.

Most Recent Beyond The Headlines