Washington’s mistake

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I am an attorney in Washington state where assisted suicide is legal. I disagree that our assisted suicide law protects the elderly (see “etc.,” June 10, 2010). Our law is, more accurately, a recipe for elder abuse.

Key provisions in our law include that an heir, who will benefit from the death, is allowed to help the patient sign up for the lethal dose. There are also no disinterested witnesses required at the death. An heir, or other person could administer the lethal dose to the patient against his will. Even if he struggled, who would know? The prior lethal dose request, voluntary or not, would provide the alibi.

Suicide proponents make it sound like “everyone is for it.” In 2010, bills to legalize assisted suicide were, however, solidly defeated in New Hampshire and Canada. Just this month, a court in Connecticut dismissed a lawsuit that would have legalized “aid in dying” in that state. The court’s decision noted: “[I]n almost every State–indeed, in almost every western democracy—it is a crime to assist a suicide.” Don’t make Washington’s mistake.

Margaret Dore

Seattle, Wash.

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