Doctors without Borders

WASHINGTON STATE'S NEW PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED SUICIDE LAW

By a vote of 59 percent to 41 percent on November 4, 2008, Washington State voters endorsed a ballot initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide (PAS). If the final outcome was never much in doubt, the margin of victory was surprising. In 1991, an initiative in favor of euthanasia had been defeated in Washington. But this time Washington’s proponents shifted to PAS. The assumption, a shrewd one, was that the public would be more willing to accept a patient’s self...

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About the Author

Daniel Callahan, a former Commonweal editor, is president emeritus of the Hastings Center and the author of What Price Better Health: Hazards of the Research Imperative.