Euthanasia in Oregon Essay

807 Words 4 Pages
Euthanasia in Oregon


Oregon is currently the only state that gives the terminally ill the right to decide how and when they want to die. This is known as “Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act” which lets ill, competent patients, who have less than six months to live, choose their preferred lethal dose of medication after they confer with two doctors. Since this right is present in only one state, it causes controversy. David Sarasohn in “No Last Rights” discusses Attorney General John Ashcroft’s challenge to the 1997 Supreme Court decision, which gave doctors in Oregon the right to prescribe federally controlled substances intended to euthanize. Ken MacQueen in “Choosing Suicide” reflects on various cases of
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He quotes the man who reveals that he wanted to live a long life, but also wished to end it with some dignity. This case then leads us into the conflict arising with euthanasia between the state of Oregon and certain organizations.

The right to euthanize has caused a clash between the state and organizations such as the Bush administration, the Roman Catholic Church, and law firms such as John Ashcroft’s. This conflict has been prolonged for eight years. “It has survived several court challenges, a repeal effort and two attempts by Congress to override it” (MacQueen 40). Canada, in addition to many states in America, have been reluctant to adopt this law due to ethical concerns and the resistance Oregon is now facing. MacQueen introduces us to a Canadian women who attempted euthanasia; “Evelyn Martens, a 71 year-old Victoria area woman and member of the Right to Die Network of Canada, has been charged with aiding and counseling the suicides of two B.C women” (MacQueen 40). MacQueen attempts to distinguish differences in culture and belief systems between Canada and Oregon law regarding euthanasia.

MacQueen then speaks of a Victoria mother dying of ALS who was assisted to death by a doctor. Spokeswoman Ruth von Fuchs, for the Right to Die Network says “Driving the issue underground causes botched suicides and places a huge burden on surviving family members, who can expect an investigation into any…

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