In 1997, Oregon became the first government in the world to legalize assisted suicide, allowing doctors to prescribe lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients. Since then, 1,173 people have received a lethal prescription, and 752 of them have taken the medication to end their life.
Obviously, this law has far-reaching impact that is only now being revealed. Since Oregon was the first by 12 years of only three states to have an assisted suicide law, the so-called “Death with Dignity” Act has been an experiment. In scientific work, one must form a hypothesis and do scores of tests and trials before acting on it. However, in Oregon, liberal ideology promoted the belief that people should have the right to kill themselves with doctors’ aid. Without true research into the side effects and consequences, Oregonians, convinced by the campaign rhetoric of assisted suicide proponents, voted to legalize assisted suicide.
Today, Oregon-based Physicians for Compassionate Care has pointed out one more devastating impact of this law: When a state has so deeply invested itself in aiding and encouraging the deaths of one set of its citizens, how can it possibly work to stop the deaths of another group of its citizens?
Overall, Oregon has the ninth highest suicide rate in the nation. Our average is 41% higher than the national average. But for the years 1999-2010, Oregon had the second-highest suicide rate for people aged 35-64 (27.3 per 100,000 people). Even though mental health problems are a rampant problem in Oregon, less than one third of men and less than 60% of women who committed suicide were receiving any treatment at the time of their suicides.
Our suicide rates are increasing every year. We are facing an epidemic of suicides in our state which leads one to ask: “What is the state doing about it?”
Physicians for Compassionate Care contacted the Oregon Health Authority in May, inquiring about the state’s suicide prevention programs, particularly for older age groups that are at extremely high risk of suicide. A return email said “staff resources to work on older adult suicide prevention have not been developed in OHA (the agency has two staff members working on Youth Suicide Prevention and Intervention).” The reason cited was a lack of financial resources.
All people can agree youth suicide is a tragedy. However, thanks to Oregon’s infatuation with “dying with dignity,” adult suicide in Oregon is seen as a non-issue. The state is concerned about keeping teenagers alive; but as soon as those same humans grow up and turn 35, joining those with the second highest suicide rate in the nation, the State of Oregon says, “You’re on your own now.” As with abortion, a human being’s age is a deciding factor in one’s value to society.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” Oregon is first in the nation in abortion rights (with no restrictions and one third of Oregon abortions funded by taxpayer dollars) and first in assisted suicide. Rather than protecting its citizens, Oregon government is facilitating or ignoring their destruction.