Politics Catholics Want to Make Your Medical Decisions While You’re a Vegetable
posted by October 6 at 16:04 PMon
Opponents of Initiative 1000, which would allow terminally-ill-yet-alert patients to end their lives, are ramping up an effort to kill the measure in the general election. The problem, they insist, is that it’s just a poorly written law.
“It’s not a moral issue,” says No Assisted Suicide spokeswoman Carrie Herring. She says I-1000 lacks safeguards for doctor accountability, pressures poor people to avoid hospice fees by committing suicide, and encourages depressed people to commit suicide rather than be treated. “It’s a public policy issue.” (Proponents of I-1000 disagree.)
But you can follow the money to the morals. Public Disclosure Commission reports show the leading contributors to No Assisted Suicide’s $750,000 bank account are the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, and an archipelago of local archdioceses across the country, including the Seattle chapter.
The anti-initiative campaign, however, is going out of its way to obscure its cadre of wealthy religious backers, instead presenting a video on its web site hosted by Martin Sheen, a Democrat, and boasts a section of endorsements from state Democrats, including Senator Margarita Prentice.
The web site’s top-listed supporters, meanwhile, appear to be neutral members of the medical profession. These are doctors who have spoken repeatedly for the campaign. But if Dr. Patricia O’Halloran’s past history is an indication of her take on morality, look no further than when she testified against stem-cell research before the Washington State Legislature. Or take, for example, Dr. Shane Macaulay, who has given $10,000 to the campaign, according to PDC reports, and donated to Washington Republicans Rob McKenna and Dino Rossi. If those Republicans seem moderate, consider also Macaulay’s contributions to Rick Santorum.
If the problem were really a lack of safeguards, then the No Assisted Suicide camp would, in theory, support a version of the law that contains those protections. But a couple spokeswomen who came to the Stranger Election Control Board meeting last week didn’t support an alternative law.
It’s not that they are anti-choice conservatives. They are pro-choice, it turns out. They want doctors to make all end-of-life choices for you.
Last Friday marked the three-year anniversary of my friend Kim’s death. She was the most opinionated person I’ve ever known and she was a one-woman patient advocate. She had cystic fibrosis and suffocated for a year before dying at a hospice. So I asked the anti-1000 camp how they would treat her suffering, or her “depression” if she had wanted to die. They argued Kim didn’t have to suffer; she just had to be sedated to the point of unconsciousness for the last six months of her life. But who would make medical choices about medicine, nutrition and everything else for Kim while she was out? Doctors would. These religious doctors—moral arbiters with stun guns—want to make every choice for patients and would-be sinners as they spend their last days knocked out on a respirator. That idea, and the blatant lie that this isn’t about morality, should die.