John Trandem: Measure 1 Protects End Of Life Decisions


It has been very interesting watching the discussion over Measure 1, which will appear on the November ballot. Unfortunately the public has yet to hear any honest debate on the issue as the opposition has relied solely on disingenuous rhetoric designed to confuse and generate fear in the voters. The simple answer begins and ends with the language of the measure, which is as clear and concise as any measure ever placed before the voters.

“The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

The only confusion is that being generated by opponents focusing on the word life rather than the word “right”. This is a significant difference, and the measure specifically protects the right to life; right, not life, is the object of the statement.

So what is a right? Rights are defined as things to which you are entitled or allowed. Rights are not defined as things you must possess, and you are not compelled to exercise rights. You can forfeit a right by simply not employing it. For instance, the 2nd Amendment guarantees us the right to bear arms. This doesn’t mean we must bear arms, it means that we may bear arms if we so choose. If we object to bearing arms for any reason whatsoever, we can choose to not do so. We can even protest the rights of others to do so. There are those to whom, despite a constitutional guarantee, this right has been revoked, as with felons. That is to say, even when a right is constitutionally guaranteed, governments can still choose to revoke rights under some circumstances.

Opponents say that Measure 1 will impact DNR orders, living wills, and other end-of-life decisions holding doctors liable if they comply with any of these and allow the individual in question to die naturally by not taking extraordinary measures to save them and leading to endless lawsuits. Well, that is simply not true, and if one understands the notion of a right, it is easy to see why. If an individual creates legal directives to be carried out under certain circumstances, that person has made clear their desire to either employ or forfeit their right to life under those circumstances. If the directive calls for no extraordinary measures to be taken to save the life in the event of an accident none will be taken, and to say that Measure 1 would change that is absurd. Measure 1 does not mandate the unlimited protection of life itself, it puts the decision in the hands of the individual by protecting his right to live or die.

If the measure were designed to protect life itself, the fears being placed in the minds of voters would be legitimate, but the clear language of Measure 1 protects the right to life, which is a completely different standard and puts all of these fears to rest.

In the end one must ask oneself a simple question, “Should my right to life to be constitutionally protected and do I believe that others deserve the same protection?” If the answer is yes, don’t hesitate to vote yes on Measure 1.