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Wash. assisted suicide measure debated

SEATTLE, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- Opponents of a Washington State assisted-suicide ballot initiative say hastening the deaths of terminally ill patients is "playing God."

The initiative, which if approved would allow physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication if requested by terminally ill patients, is against God's will, faith-based groups say, while proponents contend it would allow "death with dignity," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Monday.

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Washington's Roman Catholic Church has been the initiative's most visible opponent, raising about $450,000 of the $870,000 total donations given to fight the measure. Rev. Paul Pluth, pastor of St. Anne Catholic Church in Seattle, said by taking a utilitarian view of life, the measure "cheapens life, demeans life and debases life's worth to merely an equation with obvious utility and usefulness."

But supporters say legalizing assisted suicide for the terminally ill is humane and would improve healthcare overall, the newspaper said.

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