|It's Literally a Matter of Life or Death
By Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten
It is not every day that I can say I am writing about a matter of life and death. However, today is that day!
You have probably already heard about former Governor Booth Gardner's initiative to legalize assisted suicide in Washington State. I suspect he has supported suicide for years, even before he contracted Parkinson's Disease.
Governor Gardner appointed me to serve on the Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. I was the only conservative on the council. At the same time, he appointed the head of the Hemlock Society or the so-called "Death with Dignity" to chair that Council, telegraphing his long term goals. Now he is taking his death crusade to the whole state.
If Initiative 1000 becomes law,
for the first time doctors would be
prescribing poison to their patients.
The proposed law is based on the law in Oregon, the only state in the nation that has legalized assisted suicide. The proposal would allow patients who are "terminally ill" to request a doctor to give them lethal doses of drugs.
A broad-based group, Coalition Against Assisted Suicide, is forming to fight the initiative: including leaders in the disability community, hospice workers, doctors, nurses, minorities, elected officials, and religious groups.
Washington voters rejected a similar initiative in 1991, 54% to 46%. We have a bigger challenge now because Booth Gardner, scion of a wealthy timber family, has millions to put into the effort.
They have already hired public
relations people to convince us
that suicide is a good thing.
An effort is being raised on our side as well. We had our people at Gardner's press conference, explaining why doctors and folks with disabilities oppose the law. Our side has contacted editorial boards, sent out press releases and set up this website: www.noassistedsuicide.com.
You know that I come at things from a Biblical basis. We have justice on our side along with compassion for the living and vulnerable. But they have literally hundreds of thousands of dollars already in the bank. We have the truth on our side but we have to be able to communicate that to the general public. (Fact Sheet | Q & A | Talking Points)
We need your contribution ... whatever you can afford to give, large or small. Five dollars is not too little to help get the word out and $50,000 is not too much to defend life. We will need to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to combat them.
You can contribute online at the website or by sending a check to the campaign at:
Coalition Against Assisted Suicide
PO BOX 11794
Olympia, WA 98508
I am sure you know this is not just a Washington state issue. We are just the stepping stone as the proponents of euthanasia push their campaign wherever they can. In Michigan they tried and failed; in Maine they fought and were defeated. In all, twenty-five states have stood up to the death peddlers and said "no." Just this year, they have been working to pass laws through the Legislatures in Arizona and Wisconsin.
Their national group once proudly called itself the "Hemlock Society" but now has become so media-savvy as to wear the moniker "Compassion and Choices."
This new law would give doctors new legal authority for a special type of prescription.
But unlike the prescriptions approved by the FDA. No panel of scientists has reviewed this prescription. No double-blind studies have been published to assure that patients are not harmed.
Oh no, the point of this special prescription is to kill. The doctors prescribing these drugs are not following the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm.Rather, they are following the hypocritical oath, to turn a blind eye to depression, financial distress, vulnerability and suicide.
Yet if this law is meant to provide a tool for doctors, it is one the doctors have not asked for, nor is it one that they want.
The Washington branch of the AMA,
the Washington State Medical Association, opposes the initiative.
The state hospital and Hospice associations
do not support assisted suicide.
They know that our for-profit health care system often delivers unequal treatment, with minorities and low-income patients receiving the lowest quality care. They know how vulnerable patients can feel pressured to "not be a burden." For sure you don't want your HMO with the power to help you decide when to "exit."
It's literally a matter of life or death.
By the way, we are all terminal. Nobody is getting off this planet alive. In the meantime, we can win this if we get involved.
Yours for a Washington that loves life,
Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten
PS. You can contribute online at www.noassistedsuicide.com or by sending in a check today to the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide, PO BOX 11794, Olympia, WA 98508.
|Dr. Joseph B. Fuiten is the senior pastor of Cedar Park Church in Bothell, Washington, and he is the former president of Positive Christian Agenda. Currently, Pastor Fuiten serves on the Board of Directors for the Family Policy Institute of Washington, an associate organization of Focus on the Family.