Monday, January 28, 2008

Help the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide

Dear Friend,

   Thank you for your interest in Initiative 1000, the proposed Washington law to legalize assisted suicide.

   I am writing to you today because it is literally a matter of life and death. If Initiative 1000 becomes law, for the first time doctors would be prescribing poison to their patients.

   It 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%. But Gardner, scion of a wealthy timber family, has millions to put into the effort and has already hired competent p.r. advisors, who are busy sugar coating this poison pill.

   We mobilized quickly and have launched a p.r. offensive of our own. We were at Gardner's press conference, explaining why doctors and folks with disabilities oppose the law. We have contacted editorial boards, sent out press releases and set up this website:

   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. That's why I'm turning to you. 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.

   This is not just a Washington state issue. Rather, Washington was chosen to be a  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."  Even now, they are working to pass laws through the Legislature 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 gives doctors new legal authority for a special type of prescription. But unlike the prescriptions approved by the FDA, no panel of scientists have 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, but the hypocritical oath, to turn a blind eye to depression, financial distress, vulnerability and suicide.

   Yet if this law is a tool for doctors, it is one they do not 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."

   This initiative comes to the ballot just six months after Jack Kevorkian was freed from prison after serving eight years in Michigan for second-degree murder. He said his parole prevented him from any more killings …

   But, Kevorkian said, "I'm going to work with activist groups trying to get it legalized. And putting my voice in with theirs to legalize it whenever I can. Either through legislatures or through courts if possible."

   It's literally a matter of life or death.

   Please take the time to contribute today. Most of the money for the proponents has come from out-of-state.  But we have no one to turn to but you.

Thank you.



P.S. An national movement to legalize euthanasia has chosen Washington state for its next battle ground. But if you love life like I do, then please take a minute to contribute today to stop these assisted suicide proponents. You can contribute online at or by sending in a check today.