Monday, November 10, 2008

Washington State moves to implement assisted suicide law

There are a few very important issues that are very concerning from this article about Washington State's plans to implement assisted suicide law.

First, the article states:
Washington is now the second state in the nation to have such a law, and officials may look to neighboring Oregon for a blueprint.

The State of Oregon has imposed a "closed" style of reporting, whereby the physician who prescribes assisted suicide fills out the report. This is a form of self reporting that doesn't ensure that accurate information is reported. There is no "third party" review of the reports and no investigations.

This form of reporting provides no "safe-guard" for the person who may be seeking assisted suicide.

Second, the article states:
Department of Health spokesman Tim Church said it won't have to create a new office or section within the agency. Under the measure, any health care provider writing a prescription or dispensing medication must file a copy of the record with the Health Department, which is required to create an annual statistical report on how the law is used.

Once again, this style of reporting does not provide any protection for the person who is receiving a prescription for assisted suicide. If the physician knows that the person is experiencing dementia and incapable of deciding for themselves, but decides to provide a prescription for lethal drugs anyway, there is no way for the authorities to know about this under this system.

Third, Anne Martens, the spokesperson for the right to die lobby stated:
"I don't anticipate any legislative tinkering, but you can never rule that out," she said. "The law as written is identical to the law that's been working in Oregon. We don't see any need to change any part of it."

I have already pointed out the lack of effective safeguards in Oregon, I hope Washington State will tinker with the rules.

It is also important to note that 73% of all assisted suicide deaths in Oregon are in some way facilitated by the Compassion & Choices lobby group. Therefore the group that is in favor of assisted suicide is also the group that is carrying it out.

How will we ever be able to prevent abuses when the fox is running the hen house. This should not happen in Washington State.

Fourth, Eileen Geller from the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide have indicated that they don't plan to be part of the implementation process. Eileen stated:
"We do not concede that Initiative 1000 is a law in this state, Right now for us every option is on the table. Legal is one of them."

Whereas I agree with Eileen that every option is on the table, I also recognize that if the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide is not part of the process for establishing the rules to operate the law that the end result will be a bad law with many abuses.

Just because assisted suicide is wrong and will result in the deaths of many vulnerable people, etc, that doesn't mean that we should not attempt to mitigate the evil by becoming part of the implementation committee.

Fifth, Jennifer Hunscom, the spokesperson for the Washington State Medical Association stated:
the organization has already started educating its more than 9,600 physicians about the new law. Information is on the group's Web site, and a newsletter was being sent to members.

Since the Washington State Medical Association continues to oppose physician assisted suicide as an act which is not an act for physicians to participate, therefore they should simply say - The Washington State Medical Association considers participation in assisted suicide to be against our code of ethics.

Physicians in Washington State should simply say no to assisted suicide.

Doctors are trained to heal and to care for their patients, not kill their patients.

Link to article in the Komo TV news:

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