DETROIT -- A group of community and religious leaders is urging people to keep their porch lights and head lights on during daylight hours as part of a campaign against a proposal that would make physician-assisted suicide legal in Michigan.
"We want people to keep a light on until Proposal B has been defeated," said Greg Bowens, a spokesman for Metro Detroiters Concerned About Proposal B.
The measure will be on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The group on Wednesday launched a campaign against the proposal with a news conference in Detroit. Speaking on a stage scattered with fake grave stones with the text "Let's bury B," Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida and others argued against the proposal that would allow doctors in some cases to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for terminally ill patients wishing to kill themselves.
Maida said he found the proposal "disastrous," both as a religious man and as an attorney. He said the proposal was ambiguous and would pressure some people into choosing assisted suicide. "I assure you, the most frequent victims will be the poor, the disenfranchised, those without voice and the minorities in our society," he said.
Speaking after the news conference, Maida said some people may feel forced to choose suicide if their Medicaid or welfare is cut. "Your alternative is suicide," he said. "It may not come out black and white, but there will be pressure to make the right decision."
Dr. Walter Hunter of the Michigan State Medical Society works as a hospice physician. He said Michigan should aim to improve its end-of-life care instead of legalizing physician-assisted suicide.
Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin of the Muslim Center of Detroit said virtually all Muslims in the Detroit area oppose the proposal. "Why? Because the sanctity of life," he said. "You didn't give the life. Therefore, you have no right to take it away."
Dr. Maureen A. Fay of the University of Detroit Mercy said she was concerned about how the proposal, if passed, would be regulated. She also criticized the proposal for allowing physicians
to list terminal illness as cause of death on death certificates. "This in effect creates false information on death certificates," she said. "This does not account to true government."