Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill today that expands the Oregon’s assisted suicide law by essentially waving the requirement of a 15 day waiting period. The law eliminates physician-assisted suicide waiting periods for those diagnosed as near death.
Oregon Bill SB 0579 which enables a physician to wave the 15 waiting period states:
Notwithstanding subsection (1) of this section, if the qualified patient’s attending physician has medically confirmed that the qualified patient will, within reasonable medical judgment, die before the expiration of at least one of the waiting periods described in subsection (1) of this section, the prescription for medication under ORS 127.800 to 127.897 may be written at any time following the later of the qualified patient’s written request or second oral request under ORS 127.840.
“The Legislature heard from highly qualified and experienced medical professionals who testified that this bill is not only unnecessary but dangerous,” says Lois Anderson, Oregon RTL executive director. “They voted largely down party lines to fulfill the ominous agenda of a handful of their colleagues.”
Despite the concerns, Brown signed the measure.
“By signing this bill, Governor Kate Brown shirked her duty to protect Oregon’s citizens,” Anderson added. “Oregon’s ‘Death with Dignity’ law already lacks important safeguards to protect vulnerable Oregonians. Removing one of the only safeguards that does exist is both unnecessary and incredibly ill-advised.”
“Our state has a significant elder abuse problem,” says Anderson. “Governor Brown chose to ignore the many highly qualified and experienced medical professionals who testified as to how this bill will further endanger vulnerable Oregonians.”
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The journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, in a November 2005 article, printed that survival predictions were made, as part of a study, for 468 patients in hospice programs. Only 20 percent of the predictions were accurate.
“While it is incredibly hard for physicians to accurately prognosticate someone’s life expectancy,” says Anderson, “It is not incredibly hard for a person in a position of influence to bully a sick person into obtaining lethal drugs. Eliminating the waiting period will make this even easier.”
By waving the 15 day waiting period, a person who is approved for assisted suicide could die by assisted suicide without an opportunity, if depressed, to change their mind.
The assisted suicide lobby argues that assisted suicide laws have not expanded in Oregon, therefore there is no fear of expansion in other jurisdictions. Previous to this bill, Oregon had expanded assisted suicide by re-interpreting the meaning of terminal illness. In January 2018, Fabian Stahle proved that the Oregon Health Authority re-interpreted the meaning of terminal illness. Now Oregon has expanded the language of the legislation.
The Netherlands euthanasia law has expanded, not by changing the language of the law, but by changing the interpretation of the law. The latest Netherlands euthanasia statistics suggest that the euthanasia law was re-interpreted to include euthanasia for “completed life.”
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