by Steven Ertelt
April 6, 2008
Salem, OR (LifeNews.com) — Campaigning over the weekend, local media asked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton about Oregon’s first-in-the-nation law legalizing assisted suicide. Depending on your perspective, she either largely sidestepped the question or offered convoluted support for Oregon’s law turning suicide into medicine.
The Eugene Register Guard newspaper asked Clinton about her "attitude" towards the law.
"I believe it’s within the province of the states to make that decision," Clinton said.
"I commend Oregon on this count, as well, because whether I agree with it or not or think it’s a good idea or not, the fact that Oregon is breaking new ground and providing valuable information as to what does and doesn’t work when it comes to end-of-life questions, I think, is very beneficial," Clinton added.
Noted attorney, author and bioethics watchdog Wesley Smith says Clinton’s answer shows she likely knows very little about the problems that have occurred under the 1997 statute.
"Whether she agrees with it or not, people without serious symptoms have been prescribed lethal drugs to kill them," he said.
"Last year no patients requesting assisted suicide were referred to mental health professionals, few patients died with doctors at their side, and the number of assisted suicides went up," Smith explained.
Smith described the case of Michael Freeland, who was given a prescription for the lethal cocktail two years before dying. After Freeland became psychotic, Smith says he was abandoned by his psychiatrist who permitted his prescription to remain "safely at home."
He also noted the case of Kate Cheney, an Alzheimer’s and cancer patient who "received a lethal prescription even though a psychiatrist found that it was her daughter who had the real assisted suicide desire."