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Originally published Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 1:55 PM

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Assisted suicide law takes effect, opinions clash

A terminally ill patient told a news conference that she will consult with her doctor about choices to end her life under Washington's new assisted suicide law.

SEATTLE —

A terminally ill patient told a news conference that she will consult with her doctor about choices to end her life under Washington's new assisted suicide law.

Barbara McKay of Kirkland has late-state ovarian cancer. The 60-year-old signed "a letter to her doctor" in Seattle Thursday, indicating her wish to receive life-ending drugs if she later chooses.

The law, which took effect Thursday, allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication to patients who qualify.

Meanwhile, several dozen people protested the law at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Opponents say terminally ill patients need compassion and assistance, not life-ending drugs.

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On the Net:

Compassion & Choices of Washington: http://www.CandCofWA.org

True Compassion Advocates: http://www.truecompassionadvocates.org

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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