By Margaret Dore
Washington assisted suicide act was enacted via a ballot initiative in 2008 and went into effect in 2009. During the election, proponents claimed that its passage would ensure individuals control over their deaths. A glossy brochure declared, "Only the patient — and no one else — may administer the [lethal dose]." The Act, however, does not say this anywhere.
Today, the Washington State Department of Health issued its annual report about Washington's act. That report, similarly, does not demonstrate that individuals are in control. The report provides no information as to whether the people who died under the act consented and/or acted voluntarily at the time of death. The report instead talks about "ingestion" of the lethal dose. A drug can be "ingested" while a person is asleep, sedated and/or not aware of his or her surroundings.
For more information about Washington's act, See Margaret Dore, "'Death with Dignity': What Do We Advise Our Clients?," Bar Bulletin, May 2009.
* * * Washington's act was passed by in November 2008 as Initiative 1000 and has now been codified as RCW chapter 70.245.
 I-1000 color pamphlet, "Paid for by Yes! on 1000."
 See News Release here and report here.
 Further information can be viewed here.