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.