Booth Gardner and Death with Dignity

Last weekend, the LA Times had an extraordinary profile of Booth Gardner -- the former Democratic Governor of Washington who is campaigning for a death-with-dignity law like Oregon's.

Gardner is campaigning for the right to die. It's not quite that simple, of course. Anyone can die — "I could go out in the garage and blow my brains out, but that's not what I'm talking about," says Gardner, who describes his body and spirit as progressively weakened by Parkinson's disease, with which he was diagnosed 13 years ago. "That's not dignity." ...

A two-term Democratic governor (1985 to 1993), Gardner, who was diagnosed shortly after he left office, lends high-profile and personal support to the drive for right-to-die legislation. Advocates in his state say they hope to bring the issue before voters with an initiative in 2007 or 2008; opponents vow a vigorous campaign against it.

He thinks the Oregon law doesn't go far enough. Oregon's requirement — that a person must receive a prognosis from two doctors that he or she has six months or less left to live — might never apply to a person in his condition. Parkinson's, although it can be progressively debilitating, is generally not fatal.

Read the rest. Discuss.

  • Robert C. Kenneth (unverified)

    While I personally admire Booth Gardner's chmpioning of people's right to control their own end-of-life care, his desire to expand a proposed law to persons not necessarily dying of a terminal illness and to the use of lethal injection likely does more harm than good in the current debate of the death with dignity issue and feeds into the hands of anti-dignity groups on two specific points: (1) the "slippery slope" argument among many persons with disabilities and (2) many folks' specific objection to lethal injection. I would hope Gov. Gardner would help to pass an Oregon-type law, rather than push the envelope beyond broad voter support.

  • Socrates (unverified)


    C' have got to be kidding me. Anyone that opposes assisted suicide is against dignity? You guys are believing your own press a little too much. I thought folks on the left were supposed to avoid that type of divisive rhetoric.

    (wait for it....)

    But I suppose the answer will be that folks on the right use it, so why should we democrats limit ourselves, and since our issues and our sincerity are so much more genuine, we can be forgiven the sin of demagoguing.

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