|Will You Commit to Care?
August 28, 2008
Dear Fellow Christians,
I'm writing to you today to ask you to please join me in a "Commitment to Caregiving".
November 4, 2008, Washington State voters will vote on I-1000, the
so-called "Death with Dignity" initiative, which would legalize
physician-assisted suicide in our state.
suicide is unnecessary because patients already have the right to
refuse treatment, current pain treatments are effective, and only
another person facilitating suicide is illegal, not the act itself. The Oregon experience shows that the supposed safeguards are being
disregarded and that substandard medical care goes unpunished. Oregon's process is shrouded in secrecy.
As in Oregon, the proposed
Washington law would provide immunity for physicians from disciplinary
and malpractice actions while helping to hide substandard medical
practices such as failure to treat depression and inadequate informed
consent. Factor in the mandate to falsify the death certificate to hide
the suicide act plus no requirement for notification of family and you
have devastating public policy.
the role of physicians from being advocates of
healing to becoming accomplices in aiding death.
All of us are
vulnerable when we approach the end of life; moreover, physicians have
always been "at risk" of becoming "judges" of who is and who is not fit
to live. Subtle economic and social pressures would turn this "choice
by a few" into the "duty to die" for many.
A similar 1991
initiative failed in Washington. Oregon's law passed with only 51% of
the vote, and has been in effect for 10 years, but proponents of
assisted suicide have been defeated in four states at the ballot box
and since 1994 multiple state legislative bills have repeatedly failed
in 22 states.
There is nevertheless reason for great concern
because advocates began planning and accumulating money years ago,
specifically targeting Washington because of its social-political
landscape and proximity to Oregon. They have stated, they hope for the
domino effect consistent with their international efforts: widespread
legalization including more than the terminally ill as well as "help"
for those unable to self-administer.
True compassion is walking
along with someone on their journey, not helping them or hinting to
them to take a shortcut. Consider using a Sunday before ballots are
cast for "Commitment to Caregiving" to encourage our Christian
communities to be truly compassionate towards the terminally ill and
share in the hard work of caring for them, and also oppose I-1000.
Christian Medical Association has made available a DVD with interview
clips from Washington State that can be used in worship services,
Sunday school, and for other groups. There are 5 min, 11 min, and 28.5
min options. The American Academy of Medical Ethics has also
created a brochure summarizing this issue. Both the DVD and the brochure are available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Family Policy Institute of Washington is making the brochure and other resources available for download at www.fpiw.org, as is the Christian Medical and Dental Associations at www.cmda.org.
Pastor Joe Fuiten