Open Letter to Washington State Senators

Stop the Death of Dignity and Vote No on HB 1141

Initiative 1000 became law in Washington State in 2009.  The concept of the bill was controversial but those people pushing the initiative had heartbreaking and passionate stories to convince voters the idea of assisting in the suicide of severely ill individuals was compassionate and correct, and convinced voters there were safeguards in place that would prevent the abuse of assisting in suicide and would prevent a depressed person from requesting an early or premature death by medically assisted suicide.  Enough voters were convinced by the campaign of the initiative to sign the initiative.  The initiative became law, was codified and enshrined in Washington state law as the “THE WASHINGTON DEATH WITH DIGNITY ACT”

Fast forward to 2021, a mere 12 years after the 2009 initiative, and find a group of neo liberal Washington State Representatives have determined the safeguards put in place by the voters are just not necessary in these times of emergent health concerns, shortages of care, and social distancing.  The path to suicide and “dignity” must be made easier, and obstacles such as consideration and reflection on a life ending decision, who will enable that decision, and the safeguards of a means by which the dangerous drugs for that death are delivered to an individual, are to be eliminated by legislative edict.  This is happening through the vehicle of HB 1141

This would be considered the new compassion, this nullification of the intent of the citizens of this state who voted in favor of this initiative, and certainly for those citizens who did not.

HB 1141 makes a bad situation worse:

  1. Replacing the 15-day wait time with a 3-day wait time, reducing the chance for reconsideration or a considered approach to diagnosis of depression.  “Counseling” can be done by an independent clinical social worker, advanced social worker, mental health counselor, or psychiatric advanced registered nurse practitioner.
  2. Allowing those 3 days – just 72 hours – to be waived
  3. Lowering qualifications for those prescribing lethal drugs.  Changing the word physician to a “qualified medical provider” meaning a physician, a licensed physician assistant, or a licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner.  This change removes a primary precaution provided in voter intent.
  4. Removing the “controlled” classification on these dangerous and deadly drugs, allowing lethal drugs to be shipped as if they were any ordinary item.  For example, see this new language: “Delivery of the dispensed drug to the qualified patient, the attending qualified medical provider, or another person as requested by the qualified patient may only be made: By personal delivery, messenger service, or the United States postal service or a similar private parcel delivery entity;”

This legislative session is proven to give a new meaning to the will of the people, which has been subverted at every possible level by the Executive and Judicial branches.  The legislature is the last haven of citizens seeking representation in the rule of law, even as the legislative process has been denied citizens because of the failure of the legislature to follow the rule of law: The doors of each house shall be kept open, except when the public welfare shall require secrecy.  Secrecy is not presently required, and citizens though denied access to the legislature, have their eyes upon their elected representatives.

HB 1141 gives cynical new meaning to the old saying about the inevitability of death and taxes.  Yet, on the plethora of bills advancing taxation it is seen that many amendments and public discussion has taken place.  But the same consideration of the will of the people has not occurred on the Death with Dignity Act, there have been only two amendments which clarified the intent language of the bill proffered or considered on HB 1141 as it passed the House of Representatives.  

This is the list of Representatives voting in favor of the passage of the bill: Bateman, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chandler, Chapman, Chopp, Cody, Davis, Dolan, Duerr, Entenman, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Frame, Goodman, Gregerson, Hackney, Harris-Talley, Hoff, Johnson J., Kirby, Kloba, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Lovick, Macri, McIntire, Morgan, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Peterson, Pollet, Ramel, Ramos, Riccelli, Rude, Rule, Ryu, Sells, Senn, Shewmake, Simmons, Slatter, Springer, Stonier, Sullivan, Taylor, Thai, Tharinger, Valdez, Walen, Wicks, Wylie, Jinkins.

It is in the hands of Washington State Senators to reverse the transgressions of the House of Representatives.  HB 1141 should be rejected by the senate, it ignores and perverts the intent and will of Washington citizens, it denies the dignity of life, creates a diminishment of careful individual decision making, and ushers in a self-imposed death with a careless, unseemly, hasty trend.  The lethality of drugs used for this purpose is not carefully considered and opens a door to abuse of the system with the casual treatment of delivery methods for drugs known to be mis-used, harmful and deadly.

Regards in Life, Liberty, and Property,

Cindy Alia

Citizens’ Alliance for Property Rights

March 19, 2021