Michigan: Assisted Suicide Supporters Launch Ads

LANSING, Mich. -- Advocates of assisted suicide released radio and television ads Wednesday featuring former Michigan Gov. William Milliken, who says he supports Proposal B because he considers assisted suicide a``very fundamental right.''

Ed Pierce, head of the assisted suicide advocacy group Merian's Friends, said the ads may be his group's only attempt to counter anti-Proposal B ads that have been running statewide for more than a month.

Pierce said Merian's Friends has raised about $1 million, most of which it spent getting Proposal B on the ballot. He said the group plans to spend about $75,000 airing ads in Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Flint, Saginaw and Traverse City.

``Because we don't have a lot of money, we rely on the media to promote discussion of Proposal B in Michigan,'' Pierce said.

The ads against Proposal B have been sponsored by Citizens for Compassionate Care, an umbrella group that includes Right to Life Michigan, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition and the Michigan State Medical Society. Last month, Citizens for Compassionate Care said they were prepared to spend between $5 million and $6 million on their ad campaign.

Tom Farrell, a spokesman for Citizens for Compassionate Care, said, in response to an accusation from Merian's Friends that the Michigan business community had no stad on the issue, that Michigan Chamber of Commerce President James Barrett is on the steering committee of Citizens for Compassionate Care.

He also said that Milliken's judgment is skewed on the issue. ``I have a high regard for Governor Milliken, but I disagree with him on this issue. If he were governor and this bill came to him, he might have a different perspective,'' Farrell said.

Merian's Friends campaign manager Bob Moreillon also introduced a video of interviews that the group is sending to newspapers and television stations, including discussions with a minister, a nurse and a terminally ill man who support Proposal B.

Farrell said Citizens for Compassionate Care is not concerned that such emotional pleas could sway voters. ``We have people in similar situations who feel just as strongly the other way,'' he said.

Farrell said his group plans to release a new ad next week that will compare the number of words in Proposal B, 12,000, to the U.S. Constitution, which has 4,543 words.

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