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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

October 31, 2008 at 4:48 PM

Initiative 1000

Don’t quit your day job

I have grown tired of the expensive commercials featuring actor Martin Sheen opposing the properly labeled death with dignity proposition [1000].

The language used by Sheen as spokesman for the opposition is disgusting. Not only does the commercial invalidate the rights of any individual suffering enough to be classified as terminally ill, it virtually accuses any such person of potentially committing a criminal act.

Sheen and those who have financed his program have no right to invade the individual rights of people in agony. Moreover, they imply without saying that the right to end one’s life might be forced upon those involved.

It is Sheen who is conducting an inappropriate campaign for those obviously paying lots of money for his efforts, whether he personally benefits or not.

In short, he should get out of the lives of those who are suffering and get back to acting.

— Joseph Honick, Bainbridge Island

Good for insurance companies, bad for society

On the surface, Initiative 1000 sounds like a personal choice we may want. However, a competent, rational person who wants to end their life early will find a way to do so [“Washington’s Initiative 1000 is modeled on Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act,” page one, Oct. 13].

We already have the right to refuse treatment; we have advance directives, we have sedation for the imminently dying. Patients gain the least from this law, HMOs and insurance companies benefit the most.

The 77 million baby boomers lurching toward their declining years will strain the profits of HMOs and insurance companies.

The original writer of the Oregon “death with dignity” legislation was an HMO executive.

HMOs and insurance companies have by far the most to gain from a Yes vote. Assisted suicide cheaply eliminates some of their most costly policyholders, thereby improving corporate profits.

Booth Gardner, the frontman for the initiative, admitted in the New York Times (12/02/07) that this is only a first step toward a gradual shift of the culture so laws with more latitude will be passed. “I wish we could do a more liberal law . . . We’re not going to go farther than that now.”

Stop it now.

— Cassy Escalona, Shoreline

It could be you

From the time I was in seventh grade, to the end of my freshmen year in high school, I watched as my mom slowly slipped away, losing a horrible fight to cancer. It is hard to watch someone you love so much deteriorate right before your very eyes into almost nothing.

That is why I support Initiative 1000. I-1000 will allow for physician-assisted suicide and will give patients the option of taking away their pain and suffering.

The process of euthanasia is not a daylong process; in fact, the minimum wait time is 15 days. In those 15 days, the patient must be proved to be an “adult of sound mind,” must receive approval from two qualified physicians, and they must have at least two witnesses present during the signing of the documents.

Every step in the euthanasia process is very meticulous and must be followed precisely with no exceptions.

I strongly encourage voters to overlook their political or moral views on Initiative 1000 and vote yes,

because in a few years it could be you or even a loved one who is suffering; and wouldn’t it be nice to be given the option of determining how your life will end?

— Ami Throckmorton, Mukilteo

Comments | More in Health care, State initiatives


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