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National Right to Life on Oregon’s Assisted Suicide Law and Residency Requirements

by | Mar 30, 2022

WASHINGTON- The National Right to Life Committee denounced Oregon’s settlement in a lawsuit seeking to remove the enforcement of the residency requirements from the state’s assisted suicide law.

“This change allows for anyone traveling to Oregon to seek assisted suicide and may open the door for telehealth prescriptions of lethal drugs to residents in other states,” said Laura Echevarria, National Right to Life’s director of Communications and Press Secretary. “The possibility of abuse among vulnerable populations is of grave concern.”

For example, Oregon’s February 2019 report on its assisted suicide law showed that the terminal diseases that qualified some patients for the lethal overdose included diabetes and arthritis. These are not terminal conditions.

Egregiously, there is nothing to prevent insurers from steering people away from costly medical treatments and towards the cheap lethal drugs, potentially pushing patients into assisted suicide.

In California, when a woman’s insurance company would not cover her prescribed chemotherapy treatment, she inquired if assisted suicide was covered under her plan. She was told, “Yes, we do provide that to our patients, and you would only have to pay $1.20 for the medication.”

“In the push to legalize assisted suicide laws here in the United States, proponents argue that there are so-called safeguards in place,” stated Jennifer Popik, J.D., director of National Right to Life’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics. Not only are these so-called safeguards totally inadequate, but they are regularly followed by efforts to remove them.

Legalizing assisted suicide places vulnerable patients at risk and should not be expanded.

Those with mental illness and depression can qualify for lethal prescriptions as could those who could live for many years with basic treatments, said Popik, J.D. As written, health care providers can encourage and suggest that vulnerable patients request the lethal drugs. And, there are no mechanisms in place to adequately monitor physician adherence to the law.

For more information about the dangers of assisted suicide laws, see the October 2019 report issued by the National Council on Disability found here.

Categories: Assisted Suicide
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