Joel Connelly, a columnist with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has written an excellent column about the national push by the Death With Dignity (DWD) National Center to organize and support the campaign to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State.
On July 24, the I-1000 ballot initiative to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State was certified for the ballot. The Washington Death With Dignity group needed 224,800 certified signatures to have their initiative approved for the November ballot.
Connelly reports that the(DWD) National Center carefully choose Washington State as the place to revive their movement that is lately on “life support.”
Connelly uncovered that: The DWD national center stated in their 2007 annual report that they: “spent the last year actively researching and collecting data to determine the state which is most likely to adopt a Death with Dignity law.”
Further to that Connelly discovered from the same DWD annual report that: “In 2006-2007, we invested (time, effort and money) ... in planning for a 2008 ballot initiative. We raised nearly $250,000 to provide seed money to the campaign, and we participated in extensive early research efforts.”
"The movement has provided cold hard cash, as well, more than $440,000 in out-of-state contributions to get I-1000 on the ballot; $300,000 has come from the Oregon Death with Dignity PAC" states Connelly.
Connelly then compares the media reports to the reality of the behind-the-scenes manipulation that has been candidly laid out:
Connelly states: “We have read glowing profiles of the “last campaign” of ex-Gov. Booth Gardner, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease. ... the campaign has linked reporters to signature-gatherers who have lost a loved one, or see a relative racked with pain.” He concludes that the sophisticated string-pullers have stayed backstage.
The DWD annual report also states that: “(We) have never had such great odds of success as we have in Washington in 2008. That is why we will be directing $1.5 million over the next year and a half to the efforts in Washington.”
Connelly then goes on to explain that he is voting against I-1000 because of his personal experience and his understanding of an underpinning of democracy. “Its purpose (a democratic society) must be to safeguard and enhance life, especially among the youngest, the weakest and the suffering.”
Connelly concludes by stating that: “The job of Washington voters is fourfold. Do they agree, in principal and belief, with assisted suicide? If so, do they feel safeguards - modeled after Oregon’s law - are sufficient?”
He then asks two more questions: “Should Washington be a launching pad for a movement that seeks to transform a crime into a “medical treatment?” Will the movement next seek to expand conditions for the legal ending of life, as has been done in the Netherlands?”
I take heed from Connelly and thank him for an insightful, well researched and honest article.