By Hilary White

OLYMPIA, Washington, November 5, 2008 ( – The state of Washington voted to allow legal assisted suicide according to the Oregon model in yesterday’s ballot. Initiative 1000, the Washington “Death with Dignity Act,” which allows physicians to prescribe a fatal dose of medication to patients whom a doctor feels is likely to die within six months, passed in the state 59% to 41%.

The measure was formulated in imitation of Oregon Measure 16, which was passed in 1994. Euthanasia movement supporters donated enormous sums of money to press Washington’s Initiative 1000 forward, believing that, should it pass, the “domino effect” would soon help to legalize assisted suicide in other states.

In their appeal for funds for the Washington campaign, the euthanasia promoting group, Oregon Death with Dignity, said they had “experienced phenomenal success.”“Every piece of the campaign has fallen into place, and we are on the brink of victory on November 4,” the group said.

Campaigners against the Initiative said late in the campaign that although they had gained support, a critical lack of funding was likely to dash their hopes of protecting vulnerable patients in the state.

In the end, money appears to have won the day, as the Yes on I-1000 campaign was able to purchase key advertising spots with donations that poured in from across the country. Lawyer and author on bioethics issues Wesley J. Smith wrote that the “culture of death once again has the wind in its sails” in the US following yesterday’s vote.

Smith warns that now that two states have legalized assisted suicide, the likelihood is great that the movement will spread throughout the Union. In recent years, he said, the euthanasia movement has transformed itself from the “crackpot model” to a more professional level “in which very well tailored, upper middle class or rich activists network with other well tailored, upper middle class or rich professional types, to move the agenda forward – in elections, in the courts, in legislatures.”

Pro-life opposition, he said, is “starved for funds” and “marginalized in the popular media” and therefore, “always stuck in reactive mode when we need to be proactive.”

“Anyone who still says ‘it can’t happen here,’ isn’t paying attention. It is happening here, and it will happen here increasingly unless there is a greater commitment shown by those with means who oppose these agendas to reversing the current course.”

Read related coverage:

Oregon Euthanasia Activists Empty Coffers to Pass Washington State Assisted Suicide Bill

Washington’s Fight against Euthanasia Initiative in Critical Need of Funding as Time Runs Out