The ongoing attempts to mislead Washington state voters about Initiative 1000 continue with a guest editorial in the Seattle Times from Margaret Dore. Dore is an attorney in Seattle who deals with Elder Law, and is the President of the Society of the Friends of St. Patrick. She writes:
Up until two months ago, I had no strong opinion on the proposed Death with Dignity Act, which is on the ballot as Initiative 1000. That was, until I read its actual language. I urge you to read it now: The backers’ claims are misleading; the proposed safeguards are illusory.
I’ll second the encouragement to read the bill, but I was more than a bit skeptical of this attempt by Dore to paint herself as an impartial person just discovering what this bill is all about. Opponents of I-1000 have been desperate to portray themselves as just ordinary folks, rather than fringe extremists, but they should probably keep in mind that Google exists.
Ms. Dore is far from being just your average Democrat concerned about I-1000. For starters, she’s still listed as a contributor to this blog, which contains a bunch of posts in support of Terri Schiavo, like this one:
The Schiavo vs. Schindler case symbolizes the plight of thousands of vulnerable people throughout the USA who are being ripped off by the fraudulent guardians. Terri’s fight has given a lot of publicity to only one aspect of the issues that are being faced on a daily basis by a very vulnerable group of people. The Greer decision to allow hearsay evidence by the husband, who is incidentally also the guardian, has far reaching consequences for others who are in the same circumstances as Terri.
For this woman to start a guest editorial in the Seattle Times by claiming to be someone who was undecided until recently about this initiative is laughable. Knowing that the issue is central to her life’s work and is a hot button issue for Catholic groups like the Friends of St. Patrick, it’s clear that Dore takes the kind of extreme view of these matters that caused Ms. Schiavo to have the most undignified death in modern American history.
But the problems with this editorial go far beyond her initial misrepresentations. Ms. Dore’s argument against the initiative is a mess of poor logic and misconceptions. Let’s go through it:
The Initiative’s campaign literature states: “All decisions made by the patient must be entirely voluntary,” and that the application to obtain the lethal dose has “objective witnesses.” The proposed act, however, allows one of two required witnesses to be an heir.
When signing a will, the same situation would create a presumption of undue influence, for example, that greedy son pressured dad to sign.
This is just nuts. We’re talking about terminally ill people who have been determined by a doctor to be unlikely to live for another six months. Does Ms. Dore really believe that an heir is going to coerce a terminally ill relative to repeatedly lie about wanting to kill himself, find a willing accomplice who stands to gain nothing, and then attempt to defraud two separate doctors, all so that he/she can get an inheritance a few months earlier? Really? That’s a conspiracy theory on the level of 9/11 Truth. I haven’t heard stuff that crazy since, well, since the Terri Schiavo mess.
If someone is that motivated to off their own relative in order to collect an inheritance, they’re not going to wander through a highly safeguarded process like this one. I recognize that there are a lot of very unscrupulous people that Ms. Dore deals with in her practice, but these people aren’t going to find I-1000 to be an easy avenue to exploit. Doctors are very smart about how to tell when patients are being coerced. If anything, people who are dumb enough to try to coerce a suicide through the I-1000 process are just making it more likely for themselves to get busted by a conscientious physician or mental health expert.
Getting past the bad logic there, let’s move on to the distortion. She writes:
The initiative’s campaign literature also states: “No one other than the eligible patient may administer the [lethal dose].” The proposed act, does not, however, say this. It states only that the patient “may” self-administer the lethal drug. The act also defines “self-administer” as merely the act of ingesting.
In other words, greedy son putting the lethal dose in dad’s mouth qualifies as “self-administration.”
Here’s the actual passage that she’s referring to:
To receive a prescription to medication that the qualified patient may self-administer to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner, a qualified patient shall have made an oral request and a written request, and reiterate the oral request to his or her attending physician at least fifteen days after making the initial oral request. At the time the qualified patient makes his or her second oral request, the attending physician shall offer the qualified patient an opportunity to rescind the request.
Somehow, Ms. Dore read through that passage and came up with the idea that “greedy son” would be able to take advantage of these provisions by forcing old dad to go through all of these hoops, with the knowledge that in the end, “greedy son” is going to just violate the law and pour the prescription down his throat anyway. Is she serious? If “greedy son” really wants to collect the inheritance that badly (and I don’t doubt that these situations occur), they’re not going to wander through the detailed process laid out by I-1000 and risk getting busted. They’re just going to push dad down the stairs and say it was an accident. Yes, these things happen, and they’re terrible. But there’s absolutely no basis to believe that I-1000 makes it any easier for “greedy son” to collect his old man’s inheritance.
I don’t fault the Seattle Times for seeking guest editorials from both sides of an issue, but could they possibly find someone who isn’t a fringe lunatic to represent the anti-choice viewpoint on I-1000? Or is this initiative so straightforward and obvious that it’s only the fringe lunatics who are opposing it?