For ten years, Oregonians with terminal diseases who meet certain qualifications have had the option of ending their lives with a physician’s assistance. Oregon is the first and only state to have put such a law on the books. That may change this November.
Washington Initiative 1000, if passed, would give Washington residents diagnosed as terminally ill the legal option to end their lives with a doctor’s assistance. The law would have caveats similar to those in the Oregon statute: it would only be available to patients with six months or less left to live and they would need to seek counseling about their decision. Opponents of the initiative call it assisted suicide. Proponents say “death with dignity” is a choice terminally ill people should have.
Are you an Oregonian whose personal experience has shaped your views on this issue? Do you live in Washington? What options do you think should be available to people with a terminal illness?
- Tony Miller: Retired journalist and teacher diagnosed as terminally ill, for I-1000
- Rheba de Tornyay: Dean emeritus of the school of nursing at the University of Washington, against I-1000
- Rob Miller: Executive director of Compassion and Choices of Washington
- William Toffler: Oregon physician and national director of Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation