Letters to the Editor

Suicide is not compassion

The upcoming election ballot will include and initiative that is misleading to Washington State voters. Initiative 1000, which would allow someone to commit suicide with the assistance of a physician, is not as compassionate as it sounds.

What voters need to know is that with I-1000 there are no adequate safeguards, no requirement for mental health counseling, no requirement for family or spouse notification, no real healthcare insurance. Washington state already allows you to make legal choices at the end of life through a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care. Voters should know that loved ones do not need to suffer. We already have compassionate alternatives to assisted suicide like Hospice care, specialized pain medications, as well as palliative and comfort care. No one need suffer or die without dignity as the proponents of this initiative would like us to believe.

People who are facing a life-limiting illness need true compassion, not false choices. I-1000 claims to give individuals control over the time and manner of their death. In reality, the power of choice will be handed over to your health insurance company, your healthcare providers and/or your beneficiaries. Twenty-four other state have rejected assisted suicide because it is not truly compassionate and it is not necessary. I encourage voters to vote "no" on I-1000 and support truly compassionate choices already available to us and in use.

Rev. Philip Raether

Oak Harbor

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