Washington State’s New Death With Dignity Act

This Tuesday Washington State became the second state (after Oregon) to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients.

From the Elder Law Prof Blog:

Initiative 1000 was leading in most counties across the state Tuesday. “I’m elated,” said former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner, who filed the initiative and was one of its biggest campaign contributors. Gardner is battling Parkinson’s disease, though Parkinson’s is not considered a terminal disease that would qualify under the initiative. Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, a national right-to-die organization based in Denver that has provided financial backing for I-1000, said her group hopes to pass similar initiatives in other states in the future, though it hasn’t selected any specific states yet.

My understanding is that these laws were allowed by certain specific language in the Oregon and Washington State Consitutions. Getting similar laws passed in other states then would seem a long and uphill battle.

“I-1000, modeled on a decade-old Oregon law, permits terminally ill, competent adult residents of Washington, who are medically predicted to have six months or less to live, to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician.”

Thanks to Kim Dayton for this one.

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