Washington "Death with Dignity Act", Initiative 1000 (2008)
The Washington Assisted Death Initiative, also known as Initiative 1000, was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People, where it was defeated. The measure allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults to request and self-administer a lethal overdose of medication.
|Washington Initiative 1000 (2008)|
Election results via: Washington Secretary of State
Text of measure
The language appeared on the ballot as:
|“||Initiative Measure No. 1000 concerns allowing certain terminally ill competent adults to obtain lethal prescriptions.
This measure would permit terminally ill, competent, adult Washington residents, who are medically predicted to have six months or less to live, to request and self-administer lethal medication prescribed by a physician.
Should this measure be enacted into law?
Yes [ ] No [ ]
In 1991, a similar initiative was defeated. Initiative 1000 was more restrictive in that it explicitly prohibits euthanasia and lethal injections. Initiative 1000 was based on Oregon Measure 16, which voters passed in 1994.
Oregon's Death with Dignity Act was challenged by the Justice Department under President George W. Bush. In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the act in Gonzales v. Oregon.
A fiscal impact statement was included in the 2008 Voters' Guide. The fiscal impacts of Initiative 985 are described as follows:
|“||Initiative 1000 would require health care providers writing a prescription or dispensing medication under this act to file a copy of the dispensing record with the Washington State Department of Health. The Department would be required to create and make available to the public an annual statistical report of information collected. The Department would adopt rules on the process for collecting this information. One-time rule-making costs are estimated at $60,000. Ongoing data collection and reporting costs are estimated at $19,000 per biennium. Total costs for the 2009–11 biennium are $79,000.||”|
"Yes on 1000," the organization supporting Initiative 1000, was supported by Governor Booth Gardner, the National Death with Dignity Center, Compassion & Choices of Washington, and Compassion & Choices of Oregon. Consultants to the supporting campaign included Christian Sinderman and Blair Butterworth. Other supporters included State Senator Darlene Fairley, State Representative Jamie Pedersen, the American Medical Student Association, the American Medical Women's Association, the Lifelong AIDS Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Women's Law Center and the National Association of Social Workers.
The following reasons were given in support of Initiative 1000 in the Washington 2008 Voters' Guide:
|“||YES ON I-1000: IT'S MY DECISION
A YES vote FOR I-1000 allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to receive – under strict safeguards – a prescription for life-ending medication. This choice belongs exclusively to the terminally ill individual. Government, politicians, religious groups and others should not dictate these personal decisions.
TEN YEARS OF DIGNITY IN OREGON
I-1000 mirrors an Oregon law that has been in place for over 10 years. The Oregon law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and approved twice by voters.
Earlier this year, The Oregonian newspaper wrote that the law “helped elevate end-of-life care” and that “in a decade of experience with the law, no abuses have shown up.” The Seattle Times added that “those it affects, and their families, will be thankful for its passage.”
Independent studies of Oregon’s Death with Dignity law prove that the safeguards protect patients, prevent misuse and coercion, and allow mentally competent, terminally ill patients the option of a peaceful, dignified death. People with terminal cancer and AIDS would have the right to decide whether to end their intolerable suffering.
There are multiple safeguards in Washington’s death with dignity law. These safeguards include independently witnessed oral and written requests, two waiting periods, mental competency and prognosis confirmed by two physicians, and self-administration of the medication. Only the patient – and no one else – may administer the medication.
YES ON I-1000: DEATH WITH DIGNITY
I-1000 asks, “Who should decide these difficult end-of-life questions?” We say the decision belongs with the patient and their family, and no one else.
For more information, visit www.yeson1000.org or call (206) 633-2008.
The arguments in favor of Initiative 1000 were prepared by:
- Governor Booth Gardner (D)
- Governor Daniel J. Evans (R)
- Tom Preston, MD
- Dorothy H. Mann, PhD, M.P.H.
- Rev. Bruce Parker, D. Min.
- Linda N. Olson, Ph., RN.
Dr. Nicolaidis: "Yes on 1000" television advertisement
Three ads were run by the "Yes on I-1000."
- One of the television ads, called "Get the Facts" featured former Oregon Gov. Barbara Roberts reassuring voters who were worried that some may be taken advantage of if the measure were to be approved.
- Another ad, "Doctor-Daughter," showed a doctor whose mother used physician assisted suicide in Oregon.
- A third ad, "Lies," was a response to the "No on 1000" television commercial featuring actor Martin Sheen.
"Yes on 1000" and "Compassion & Choices Washington Initiative PAC" spent $5,530,436 on the campaign.
The eight largest donors were:
- Oregon Death with Dignity: $1,006,381
- Compassion & Choices of Washington: $776,500
- William Booth Gardner: $455,000
- Andrew Ross: $400,000
- Loren Parks: $275,000
- Judy Sebba: $253,555
- Compassion & Choices Action Network: $250,000
- Stephen G. Clapp: $250,000
"Coalition Against Assisted Suicide," the organization opposing the Initiative 1000, was supported by disability rights advocates and organizations, anti-abortion organizations, religious organizations, the Roman Catholic Church and the Washington Medical Association. Both Governor Christine Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi opposed Initiative 1000.
The following reasons were given in opposition to Initiative 1000 in the Washington 2008 Voters' Guide:
|“||I-1000 legalizes assisted suicide in Washington. The law is flawed and dangerous.
I-1000 IS DANGEROUS FOR PEOPLE WHO CANNOT AFFORD HEALH CARE.
Adding I-1000 to our broken, profit-driven health care system puts Washingtonians at risk – anyone with limited access to health care or inadequate health insurance. In Oregon, patients have been denied chemotherapy but offered assisted suicide instead.
I-1000 HAS NO REAL SAFEGUARDS.
I-1000 requires almost no government oversight, with no penalties for abuse. It overrides our disclosure laws and requires doctors to falsify death certificates.
I-1000 endangers vulnerable people. Its supposed “safeguards” are inadequate:
OUR STATE'S LEADING PHYSICIANS' ORGANIZATION, THE WASHINGTON STATE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, STRONGLY OPPOSES I-1000.
Proponents say I-1000 provides a choice when dying, but for those who are not wealthy, it could be a choice made by insurers and state bureaucrats; they will have the choice to steer patients toward assisted suicide rather than provide actual end-of-life care.
DISABILITY COMMUNITY LEADERS OPPOSE I-1000.
Recent medical advances assure pain can be controlled and no one need suffer at the end of life. I-1000 is not needed.
Dangerous assisted suicide laws have been rejected in 24 states, including here in Washington in 1991. It’s time to reject assisted suicide, again.
VOTE “NO” ON I-1000. IT'S JUST TOO DANGEROUS.
For more information, visit www.noassistedsuicide.com or call (206) 337-2091.
The arguments against Initiative 1000 were prepared by:
- Margarita Prentice, State Senator and nurse
- Cynthia Markus, MD, President, Washington State Medical Association
- Duane French, disability rights leader, Not Dead Yet – Washington
- Rose Crumb, RN, hospice nurse, founder Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County
- David Cortinas, publisher of LaVoz Hispanic Newspaper
- Linda Seaman, MD, FAAHPM, board certified hospice and palliative medicine
"No on 1000" television advertisement
Ads run by the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide featured actor Martin Sheen, a self-desribed pro-life Democrat. In the ad, Sheen called the initiative ""a dangerous idea that could hurt low-income people who need medical care. It's a step backwards and I urge you to vote no... Initiative 1000 would open up a loophole that health care insurers could exploit to cut payments for the disabled and the working poor encouraging them to use assisted suicide. This is exactly the wrong direction for real health care in America."
The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide spent $1,678,796 on the campaign.
The six largest donors were:
- Connecticut Knights of Columbus: $250,000
- Knights of Columbus: $75,250
- Washington State Catholic Conference: $70,394
- Archdiocese of Seattle: $55,000
- Catholic Health Association: $50,000
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: $30,000
Path to the ballot
Initiative 1000 was filed on January 9, 2008 by former Governor Booth Gardner. Signatures were submitted to qualify it for the ballot. The measure was placed on the ballot as provided for by the state constitution.
- Washington 2008 ballot measures
- 2008 ballot measures
- List of Washington ballot measures
- Washington Aid-in-Dying, Initiative 119 (1991)
- Office of the Secretary of State, "2008 Voters Pamphlet," accessed September 5, 2013
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- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- The Seattle Times, "My life does not belong to the state or the church," January 17, 2008
- Follow the Yes on 1000 money
- KNDO-TV News, "Gregoire opposes Eyman initiative, Rossi for," October 9, 2008
- LifeNews.com, "Washington Group Airs First Ads Against Assisted Suicide, Feature Martin Sheen," September 30, 2008
- Campaign finance details for I-1000
- Washington Secretary of State, "Initiatives to the People," accessed September 5, 2013
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