As previously reported by Live Action News, Oregon has continued in its attempts to further remove safeguards when it comes to assisted suicide in the state. And this week, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 579, removing waiting periods for assisted suicide for certain patients, into state law. According to ABC News, “The law allows those with 15 days left to live to bypass a 15-day waiting period required under the Death with Dignity Act, something proponents say will reduce bureaucracy and bring relief to gravely ill people.”
But Oregon Right to Life Executive Director Lois Anderson stated in a press release, “By signing this bill, Governor Kate Brown shirked her duty to protect Oregon’s citizens. 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.” Anderson also points out that Oregon “has a significant elder abuse problem” and says the governor ignored the testimony of many medical professionals who believe this law will put vulnerable citizens at greater risk.
ABC News notes that prior to the new law, “Those seeking life-ending medications had to make a verbal request for physician-assisted suicide, wait 15 days and then make a written request. They then had to wait an additional 48 hours before obtaining the prescription. Under the new amendment, doctors can make exceptions to the waiting periods if the patient is likely to die before completing them.”
Another bill being considered in Oregon, as previously reported, is HB 2217, which passed the House and is currently in committee in the state senate. This bill, according to its webpage, “[p]rohibits anyone other than patient from administering medication to end patient’s life in humane and dignified manner.”
As Live Action News previously noted regarding HB 2217, the bill “is meant to accommodate those patients who wish to commit suicide but are too weak or ill to self-administer pills, by allowing the medication to be provided via syringe or IV. As proposed, the bill would further blur the lines between suicide and euthanasia, since health care providers would be required to help a patient load the syringe with deadly medicine or insert a needle in their arm, thereby becoming more active participants in the act of suicide.”
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