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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Some doctors oppose 'death-on-demand,' some don't

Washington's doctor-assisted suicide law goes into effect today.

Doctors will now be able to prescribe, by a patient's request, lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live. However, many doctors are hesitant to speak publicly about their stance on the "Death with Dignity" law, according to The Associated Press.
Compassion and Choices, the group that campaigned for and currently supports the law, was happy to see Washington's Imitative 1000 pass by nearly 60 percent in the November election.
Rita Marker of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide tells OneNewsNow her first reaction is sadness. "It was tragic that one state had transformed the crime of assisted suicide into a medical treatment. That was Oregon," she notes, "and now we have Washington following down that road to death-on-demand."
She believes pressure for ending a person's life will come from medical establishments and insurance companies.
"Once you have transformed the crime of assisted suicide into a medical treatment, that makes that just like any other medical treatment," Marker contends. "And therefore the health insurance company can approve that and authorize payment for it, when it might then very well not authorize payment for other treatments that patients need and want to make them more comfortable and extend their lives."
Rita Marker (International Tasf Force on Euthanasia and Assited Suicide)Marker points to an instance in Oregon where Medicaid would not approve cancer treatments because of the expense, but would authorize payment for a lethal dose of drugs.
AP reports there are requirement for patients who wish to request the lethal medication. The person must be at least 18 years old, a state resident, and declared competent. In order to solicit the fatal dose, the patient is required to "make two oral arguments, 15 days apart, and submit a written request witnessed by two people, one of which must not be a relative, heir, attending doctor, or connected with a health facility where the requester lives."
At least two doctors must also certify that the patient has six months or less to live. However, some doctors believe six-month terminal diagnoses are often inaccurate and could cause a person to die prematurely.
Pharmacists and physicians will not be forced to write or fill lethal prescriptions under the Washington law.

Contact: Charlie Butts, Marty Cooper
Source: OneNewsNow
Source URL:
Publish Date: March 5, 2009
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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.

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