Margaret Dore is a lawyer in Washington State, where assisted suicide is also legal. Dore is a former law clerk to the Washington state supreme court and president of Choice Is an Illusion, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia. She talks with National Review Online about assisted suicide as it exists now and how we might make a change. — Kathryn Jean Lopez
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Lopez: What is the absolute first thing that you would like anyone who was moved by Brittany Maynard’s life and death to know?
Dore: I would want them to know that “eligibility” for legal assisted suicide is not limited to people who are near death. This is true for the following reasons:
Under the Oregon and Washington assisted-suicide laws, assisted suicide is legal for “terminal” patients, meaning those predicted to have less than six months to live. But such predictions can be wrong. Moreover, treatment can lead to recovery. Consider Jeanette Hall, who was diagnosed with cancer in Oregon in 2000 and was adamant that she would “do” Oregon’s law. Her doctor, who didn’t believe in assisted suicide, stalled her and convinced her to be treated instead. Today, 14 years later, she is thrilled to be alive. You can see her doctor’s affidavit here.
Once assisted suicide is legal, there is pressure to expand. For example, here in Washington State, we have already had “trial balloon” proposals to expand our law to euthanasia for non-terminal people. For me, the most disturbing proposal was a discussion in our largest paper suggesting euthanasia for people who didn’t have enough money for their old age. So, if you worked hard all your life, paid taxes, and then your pension plan went broke, this is how society will pay you back? With non-voluntary or involuntary euthanasia? (The newspaper column can be read here.)
In other words, with legal assisted suicide, people with years to live are encouraged to throw away their lives. Moreover, and contrary to the media hype, legal assisted suicide (or euthanasia) may not be voluntary. . . .
Lopez: Why is the “death with dignity” language misleading?
Dore: Because it’s a euphemism, which doesn’t readily disclose that we are talking about assisted suicide and euthanasia for people who may or may not be dying anytime soon, and that such death may not be voluntary.
Lopez: Who is Compassion & Choices? Is its name misleading?
Dore: Compassion & Choices is a successor organization to the Hemlock Society, originally formed by Derek Humphry. In March 2011, Humphry was in the news as a promoter of mail-order suicide kits from a company now shut down by the FBI. This was after a 29-year-old man had used one of the kits to commit suicide. Seven months later, on October 22, 2011, Humphry was the keynote speaker at Compassion & Choices’ annual meeting here in Washington State.
Compassion & Choices’ name is misleading because it does not disclose its true nature as a suicide/euthanasia advocacy group. The name is also misleading because Compassion & Choices’ true mission is to reduce choice in health care and to change public policy so as to reduce patient cures.
Lopez: Speaking of names: How did your group arrive at Choice Is an Illusion?
Dore: The name, Choice Is an Illusion, is a commentary on Compassion & Choices because the laws it promotes do not assure patient choice. . . .
Lopez: What might you want to leave readers with in closing?
Dore: Problems with legal assisted suicide include:
- The encouragement of people with years to live to throw away their lives.
- New paths of elder abuse, for example, in the context of inheritance.
- A push to expand euthanasia to non-terminal individuals.
Don’t make Washington State’s mistake.
To read the entire article, please go here: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/392444/whose-choice-will-it-be-interview