When voters receive their mail-in ballots next month, they'll be asked to decide whether assisted suicide should be a legal option for Washington's terminally ill.
It would allow terminally ill adults in Washington to receive a prescription for lethal drugs. Two doctors would have to certify that a patient has six months or less to live. The doctors would be required to refer the patient to counseling if the patient was not considered competent to make the decision to end his or her own life.
Opponents argue that there are not enough protections for people whose depression could be lessened before suicide. They say that if a law allowing assisted suicide passes, it should require doctors to consult with the family of the ill person.
But for many, how they vote on Initiative 1000 will be less a question of legality than of morality.
Religious leaders, doctors and ethicists say it's a question that will require them to confront some of their most deeply held beliefs about life and death.
Sister Sharon Park of the Washington State Catholic Conference said it's a decision that has huge ramifications for society. "We have prohibitions on the taking of innocent human life," she said. "Law is not about the individual; law is about balancing the individual and the common good."
If Initiative 1000 is approved in the Nov. 4 election, Washington would become the second state to allow assisted suicide. Oregon is the other.
Read the full story at theolympian.com.