Oregon debating bill to expand assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

An Oregon, assisted suicide Bill HB 3337 is being debated in the State House to expand the assisted suicide law.

Currently people in Oregon are eligible to die by assisted suicide if they are defined as terminally ill. The assisted suicide act states:

“Terminal disease” means an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, [produce] result in death within [six months].

Bill HB 3337 will expand the definition to 12 months.

The 2014 Oregon assisted suicide report indicates a 44% increase in assisted suicide deaths and a 48% increase in the number of lethal prescriptions. In 2014, at least one person who died by assisted suicide obtained the lethal dose in 2012, (439 days before death) even though the law requires the person to be within 6 months of death.

In 2014, Assisted suicide's in Oregon increased in numbers, conditions and demographics.

  • 105 assisted suicide deaths in 2014 up from 73 in 2013. (44% increase).
  • 155 prescriptions for suicide in 2014 up from 105 in 2013. (48% increase).

In previous years almost 80% of the assisted deaths, were cancer related. In 2014, 68% had cancer with "other illnesses" increasing to 8.6% (9 deaths). Other illnesses included diabetes.

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