Very tricky wording on this ballot initiative in Washington State.

If approved by voters Nov. 4, Initiative 1000 would bring Oregon-like assisted suicide to Washington.

Get that? A ‘yes’ vote would approve assisted suicide. A ‘no’ vote
would uphold the sanctity and dignity of human life until natural death.

But the public is only hearing the message that is best funded. And…

Contributions by supporters of a physician-assisted
suicide initiative in the state of Washington are outpacing those from
opponents by nearly four to one, and nearly two-thirds of those
pro-referendum gifts are from advocacy organizations and their
representatives or a former governor and his family.

The ‘Right to Die’ movement is well-funded and mobilized in active organization.

People going about their business and worried about the economic
crisis and the presidential election aren’t paying too much attention
to this one. What’s at stake?

Assisted suicide became legal in Oregon in 1997, making
it the only state in the country to permit the practice. Legalized
assisted suicide enables doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs for
a patient but not to administer them.

This initiative has been dubbed ‘Oregon plus One’. For obvious reasons.

“Make no mistake, this is not a grassroots political
campaign arising out of great urgency from the people,” bioethics
specialist Wesley Smith noted on his weblog. “Rather, it is a carefully
planned political move originating from out-of-state assisted suicide
advocates looking for a ripe plum to pick.

“The mantra of the assisted suicide forces is ‘Oregon plus One,’
believing that if one more state falls, the wind will again be at their
backs.”

And if it passes one more state, in this case Washington state, the
next one to fall is California. Then, it’s a domino effect from there.

We don’t like to think of these things when life is going normally. As in the case of Terri Schiavo,
anyone can fall into an impaired state with no warning. We’re having a
national debate on several other issues, but this one remains confusing and off the public radar.

Here are the facts.

There are plenty of stories to fill in the details of why ‘death with dignity’ is a killer euphemism.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....