Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Washington's Suicide Law


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp;
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Dorothy Parker

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Increasing Their Numbers

"We must increase our numbers" is the quote you hear most if you attend a Compassion and Choices annual meeting. Contributors to Compassion and Choices want to see the number of people who use assisted suicide increase.

The only reason they would want to see their numbers increase is because they have a vested interest in reducing healthcare costs at the end of life. The role of insurance companies and managed care organizations in legalizing assisted suicide is huge.

Assisted suicide grows from the premise of "every life reaches a point of diminishing returns and corporate America must capitalize on it."

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Horsesass is a Washington State blog that has been talking a lot about legalizing assisted suicide. I've never seen it write articles about disability rights but all of a sudden it pretends to be the new voice of people with disabilities.

Jesse Wendle of Group News Blog writes a post in Horsesass telling us I 1000 isn't about people with disabilities. Of course, to demonstrate his disability rights pedigree he calls us cripples. He thinks it's okay to use the word cripple because you know he's a "brother."

Jesse then goes on to call those of us who disagree with him liars. The bottom line is that Jesse is to people with disabilities what Clarence Thomas is to African-Americans.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is Oregon Trying to Hide?

A question often asked about assisted suicide is: "Why haven't we heard about any problems in Oregon?"

There are many reasons we haven't heard about assisted suicide abuses in Oregon and the most obvious is there is no designated agency with the authority or funding to investigate abuses.

Another huge problem is poor oversight and management of investigating suicides to determine the cause of death. Death caused by a lethal dose of drugs is classified as poisoning. If the poisoning follows the assisted suicide rules in Oregon it is not consider suicide, but if it’s not clear if it’s assisted suicide it is recorded as a suicide or undetermined cause of death.

In poisoning cases the best way to determine cause of death is by toxicology testing. Oregon is the worst state, of the 13 states surveyed, in doing toxicology testing to determine the drugs used in suicide cases according to the Journal of the American Medical Association article “Toxicology Testing and Results for Suicide Victims – 13 States, 2004.”

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Most people have experienced a controlling boss or parent and understand how their obsession to be in control affects everyone around them. People obsessed with the need to control everything have to know how you will manage every detail of all situations. There is no room in their life for natural and spontaneous events. They have to be in control.

So I'm not surprised when I hear assisted suicide supporters talk about their need to control how they die. Of course, in their life death cannot be a natural and spontaneous act... it has to be controlled. Like most people obsessed with control assisted suicide supporters want to delegate responsibility for any actions taken in their controlled and contrived lives. They want to "control" their death but want a doctor to prescribe the lethal dose of drugs so they aren't "responsible" for their death. And, they want their family to support them in their decision and be at their side as the poisons take effect and "hopefully" kills them.

Assisted suicide supporters are so fearful of being held responsible or accountable for their final actions that in Initiative 1000 it requires doctors to falsify the death certificate by citing their terminal illness as the cause of death instead of the lethal dose of drugs. Falsifying the death certificate conveniently prevents public accountability of assisted suicide making it impossible to track whether abuses have occurred.

Let's hope Washington State voters won't satisfy those people's obsession to always be in control.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Assisted Suicide Is Bad Public Policy

Marilyn Golden with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) outlines the public policy basis for opposing assisted suicide. Ms. Golden demonstrates the many risks posed to our society by legalizing assisted suicide.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Simple Answers

Your mouth waters at the sight of a red ripe delicious Washington apple. The produce manager tells you it's laced with 10 mg of Phenobarbital but it's totally "natural." Of course, you would never believe him.

Initiative 1000, if passed, would change Washington law - Chapter 70 RCW 70.122 - the Natural Death Act to include taking an overdose of Phenobarbital to commit assisted suicide and call it a "natural" death.

Q. How is taking an overdose of a drug that attacks the brain stem closing down the central nervous system while the toxic poisons kill the vital organs considered a "natural" death?

A. It isn't natural.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mystery Money

The Death with Dignity National Center is going to spend $1.5 million on the passage of Initiative 1000 to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State. Since most of their money is contributed through their 501(c)3 status as a private nonprofit corporation they don't have to disclose the names of their donors.

So, it's hard to know exactly how much of their money comes from high rollers in the insurance and managed care business. Barbara Combs Lee, former Executive Director of Compassion and Choices, is credited for raising enough money to make the organization a force in legalizing assisted suicide. Compassion and Choices and the Death with Dignity National Center are the leading contributors to the Initiative 1000 campaign in Washington State.

Combs Lee is a former executive with Ethnix Northwest Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aetna insurance.

The question remains: "How much money is the insurance industry contributing to Initiative 1000?"

Monday, February 25, 2008

Assisted Suicide Initiative 1000 Launched

The assisted suicide initiative was launched in Washington State on January 9, 2008. Proponents of assisted suicide during their news conference made morose speeches and recited poetry. Most of the funding thus far for the initiative comes from outside the state.

Washington Not Dead Yet representatives, joined with members of the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide, held a news conference immediately following the remarks made by assisted suicide backers. We educated the media about Oregon's weak safeguards, bogus data, the discrimination underlying assisted suicide, and why assisted suicide is loved by managed care and insurance companies.

Using the same approach as was used in Oregon, they want Washington State voters to believe there are "safeguards"in the initiative when in fact they are no more than mere inconveniences. Proponents expect to raise over $5 million to fund their campaign.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dr. King's Dream

I wonder what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would say about assisted suicide? Maybe:

"If we spent our time and energy on lifting people with a terminal illness or disability up rather than wanting them put down like a dog, we would serve them good."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Uncaring in Salem

In the first eight years since assisted suicide was made legal in the state of Oregon an average of six people per year reported pain or the fear of pain as a reason for requesting assisted suicide. In 2006 the number rose sharply from the average of 6 requests based on pain or the fear of pain to 22 requests based on pain or the fear of pain.

If Oregon Department of Human Services personnel cared as much about people with terminal illnesses as they do advocating for assisted suicide they would be alarmed at such a significant rise in the number of requests based on pain. They would immediately investigate to determine if insurance companies or managed-care programs were pressuring doctors to reduce pain medications. And, they would investigate to determine if doctors were reducing the amount of pain medications prescribed to patients to coerce them to consider assisted suicide.

The fact that no concerns were raised in the ninth annual report on assisted suicide demonstrates that Oregon DHS officials believe assisted suicide advocates are their customers not people with terminal illnesses.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lost in "Translation"

The People's Temple Reverend Jim Jones developed a belief called “Translation” in which he and his followers in Jonestown would all die together, and would move to another planet for a life of bliss. They practiced mass suicides in which his followers pretended to drink poison and fell to the ground. The former Hemlock Society wants people with disabilities, terminal illnesses, and seniors lost in their "translation."

The basis of the Initiative rides on their translation of the word “dignity.” "Dignity" is a word that hasn't changed much since the 13th century, it means:

“1: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed 2 a: high rank, office, or position b: a legal title of nobility or honor 3: formal reserve or seriousness of manner, appearance, or language”
They have decided whose life is "worthy" and they want to use the Initiative as a means for government to sanction their beliefs about whom is "worthy" and who is not. The Hemlock Society's need to hide the true meaning of the Initiative proves that they know Washington voters would not support their radical notion if the ballot language told the truth by including "assisted suicide" in the ballot title.

The Initiative will change Washington law that prevents someone from prosecution for “Mercy killing or physician-assisted suicide” (RCW 70.122.100). Current law reads:

“Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to condone, authorize, or approve mercy killing or physician-assisted suicide, or to permit any affirmative or deliberate act or omission to end life other than to permit the natural process of dying.”
It would also create confusion and complicate the state’s ability to take criminal action under RCW 9A.36.060 to prosecute someone for "Promoting a suicide attempt.” Current law reads:

“(1) A person is guilty of promoting a suicide attempt when he knowingly causes or aids another person to attempt suicide.

(2) Promoting a suicide attempt is a class C felony.”
The laws changed if the initiative passes reference "mercy killing," "physician-assisted suicide," and "aids another person to attempt suicide." So, it's ridiculous for the ballot title not to include a reference to "assisted suicide" because that’s the dictionary's definition of what becomes legal if the initiative passes.

In America the dictionary is what the people use to define words and here is how the dictionary defines assisted suicide:

"Assisted suicide: suicide committed by someone with assistance from another person; especially : physician-assisted suicide

Physician–assisted suicide: suicide by a patient facilitated by means (as a drug prescription) or by information (as an indication of a lethal dosage) provided by a physician aware of the patient's intent"
Since doctors are rarely in attendance when an assisted suicide occurs, the correct words to include in the ballot title are assisted suicide.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

POP Goes the Weasel

Political campaigns are run on a platform. The group behind the initiative to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State, the former Hemlock Society, announced their platform at the Secretary of State's office on Wednesday, January 9, 2008. Their platform: Platform Of Pity (POP). They paraded their poster boy, the crying and bereaved family members, a ghoulish Doctor, and a poetry reading past preacher.

They then proceeded to tell us why the initiative isn't about "suicide." One of the social workers in their group later told reporters that "suicide is only for the healthy." She went on to say "when someone is sick and ends their life it is not 'suicide.'" In other words, their goal is to push visceral public policy driven by emotions and based on weasel words.

Oh why?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Tools of Oppression and Prejudice

Fear is the major tool used by the forces of oppression and prejudice to allow discrimination of people those forces deem "unworthy." Sadly, all too often that includes people with disabilities.

The forces behind the effort to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State (the former Hemlock Society) have decided whose life is "worthy" and whose is "not worthy." They say the life of the "terminally ill" is not "worth" living. So, they want to legally help them commit suicide.

This small group of people from the Hemlock Society wants to legalize assisted suicide using the Oregon "model." Let's remember what happened in 1921 when Washington followed the Oregon eugenics "model."

Washington was the second state to jump on the eugenics bandwagon, in 1909. We passed a second law in 1921, largely inspired by a statute in Oregon. The Oregon and Washington laws had nearly identical language, providing involuntary sterilization for the "feeble minded, insane, epileptic, habitual criminal, degenerates, and sexual perverts." This often included reform-school girls, welfare moms, the retarded, gays, and the physically disabled.

How Many People did Washington sterilize in the name of improving the gene pool? The best estimate is close to 700. Washington's law was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 1942; Oregon's stayed on the books into the 1980s, and more than 2,600 were sterilized there.

So, when those people say follow the Oregon "Model" on assisted suicide; I think "Not so much!"

Genesis of Our Name: Not Dead Yet

People often wonder about the origin of our name Not Dead Yet. The name was drawn from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail and above is a clip of the actual scene inspiring our name.