Assisted suicide claims 1st victim in Wash.

Washington state has its first legal death by physician-assisted suicide since the state's voters approved the practice in November.



Linda Fleming, 66, died May 21 after taking a lethal dose of drugs prescribed for her under Washington's Death With Dignity Act, according to Compassion and Choices, a pro-assisted suicide organization. Fleming had been diagnosed only a month earlier with pancreatic cancer.

"The pain became unbearable, and it was only going to get worse," Fleming said, according to a release from Compassion and Choices. "I am a very spiritual person, and it was very important to me to be conscious, clear-minded and alert at the time of death.... The powerful pain medications were making it difficult to maintain the state of mind I wanted to have at my death."

The head of an organization opposed to assisted suicide said, however, that people with terminal illnesses "need competent, supportive care, not lethal drugs." Eileen Geller, president of True Compassion Advocates, said she is "deeply concerned that vulnerable ill people's fears not be exploited. Excellent comfort care, pain control, symptom management and support are available through hospice and palliative care."

"Assisted suicide is a tragedy which heightens fear and increases misinformation about living and dying," said Geller, a hospice nurse for more than 25 years. "We need to advocate for truly compassionate care, not false and misleading choices."

The Washington law is patterned after one in Oregon, which has had 401 deaths by assisted suicide reported to the state since the practice became legal in 1997. Oregon set a record in 2008 for most assisted suicides in a year with 60.

Contact: Tom Strode
Source: Baptist Press
Publish Date: May 28, 2009
Link to this article.  
Send this article to a friend.

Illinois Federation for Right to Life Blog  Visit the IFRL on Facebook  Bookmark and Share

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.


 

Illinois Federation for Right to Life
IFRL Logo