Vote on 'death with dignity' agitates Oregon
Thursday 20 October 1994
Failed attempts to introduce 'right to die' laws through the ballot box in Washington State, in 1991, and in California, in 1992, produced intense and acrimonious debate; so Oregon is proving no exception. The medical community is deeply divided, over the issue, and the Catholic Church has been spearheading efforts to raising funds to oppose the proposals, known locally as Measure 16, or the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.
Proponents believe the measure would spare unnecessary pain and expense to the terminally-ill and their relatives. The laws would allow a fatally ill patient to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of barbiturates, as long as two doctors agreed the patient had less than six months to live.
The physicians would have to be satisfied that the patient had rejected all other treatment alternatives and the dying patient would have to request the deadly prescription three times - with the final request in writing - and administer it of his own accord, unaided by anyone else. Supporters include the state's Democratic Party, and state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organisation for Women. The Hemlock Society, in Eugene, Oregon, is keeping a low profile.
Opponents say the legislation is deeply flawed, and risks encouraging elderly people to opt for early death, merely because they do not want to be an emotional and financial drain on others.
They also point to the lack of any requirements for the patient to have a mental health examination - an omission which they say means there's a risk that ill people will chose to kill themselves simply because they are suffering from depression. And, they claim, doctors cannot say for certain if a patient will die within six months; an estimated 10 per cent could kill themselves prematurely, they say.
The issue will be determined on 8 November, on the same day as America's mid-term elections. A poll this month showed that 60 per cent of likely voters among Oregon's 2.8 million residents favoured the law, while 37 per cent opposed it. But, although this suggested a comfortable victory for the 'death with dignity' lobby, past experience will tell them that the opposition tends to gather steam as the election day approaches.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Businessman charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London hotel
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...
£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...