Welcome to the Washington Death With Dignity Initiative website.
I appreciate your interest in this critical measure to allow individuals suffering from painful, terminal illness to end their lives with dignity.
We’ll be launching our campaign formally in early 2008, but we have already begun to build a strong, statewide organization.
After a lifetime in public service, I view this as my final campaign—a campaign for all the people of Washington State to control fundamental end of life choices. I appreciate your support and urge you to get in touch with the campaign if you have any questions.
Governor Booth Gardner
What is It's My Decision?
Washington State is taking a progressive, humane step towards improving care for terminally ill adults. A broad coalition of physicians, nurses, hospice patients, family members, organizations and concerned residents has formed the It's My Decision committee to propose a death-with-dignity initiative for the 2008 ballot. This measure will give tremendous peace of mind to terminally ill patients who face the prospect of prolonged suffering at end of life.
What does the initiative do?
This initiative would allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults in Washington State diagnosed with six months or less to live the legal choice to access and self-administer life-ending medication. Eligible patients would have the option to make a voluntary, legal, informed and personal decision with their physician and their families with numerous safeguards to protect the patient from abuse. Learn more.
By SARAH SKIDMORE, Associated Press Writer
PORTLAND, Oregon. (AP) -- Peggy Sutherland grew up in the Northeast and married a doctor.
Neither she nor her husband had ever been west of the Mississippi, but they moved to Oregon - in large part to get away from the confines and structure of the East.
"She really felt liberated out here," said her daughter, Julie McMurchie. And when Sutherland's lung cancer became terminal, she appreciated Oregon all the more.
On Jan. 25, 2001, Sutherland took a lethal dose of medicine prescribed by her doctor. She ended her life at age 68. Her family was at her side.
Tomorrow, Oct. 27, Oregon will pass the 10-year milestone for the Death With Dignity Act. For 10 years, that law has been a still, small voice of hope for dying patients -- a quietly powerful message that no one will be forced to suffer needlessly or endure the relentless loss of body and mind because there are no other options.
Keeping the law intact has required vigilance and fortitude. It has prevailed in both Oregon's Legislature and in Congress. It has overcome extended legal attacks by right-to-life groups and the John Ashcroft-led Justice Department, until Oregon's lawmaking authority was finally vindicated in the U.S. Supreme Court. The law's opponents claimed it would destroy end-of-life care, would harm vulnerable populations, would become a slippery slope for abuse.
None of that has happened.
Read more: In Oregon, 10 years of Death With Dignity