OrthodoxyToday.org
Commentary on social and moral issues of the day


The Oregon Tall Tale: The creepy underside of legal assisted suicide

Wesley J. Smith

  • Print this page
  • Email this page
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Bookmark and Share

A paper presented at last week's American Psychiatric Association meeting demonstrates once again that the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Oregon was one of the great public policy con jobs of all time. Earnest euthanasia advocates--generally abetted by a compliant media--spun the myth that assisted suicide would invariably be a rational "choice," strictly regulated by the state, a last resort of dying patients when nothing else could be done to alleviate their suffering. But the more we learn about how doctor-facilitated death is actually being practiced in Oregon, the clearer it becomes that these assurances were false.

Getting access to this information isn't easy. Assisted suicide in Oregon is shielded from meaningful public scrutiny by a shroud of state-imposed secrecy. As a consequence, little is publicly known about the people who have died by swallowing massive overdoses of toxic drugs prescribed by doctors. Indeed, the assisted suicide law was written and later interpreted by state regulators to ensure that the Oregon Health Department is powerless to control the practice of assisted suicide before patients die.

What little oversight the department imposes consists primarily of collecting and publishing data received after the fact. And almost all of the information collected and regurgitated by the state in annual reports comes from the doctors who do the lethal prescribing. In fact, the department is so incurious about the facts and circumstances surrounding assisted suicides, that even when it learns that a lethal prescription request was previously refused, no one calls the nonprescribing doctors to find out why. Nor do the "regulators" usually interview close friends and family members of the patient, who may have information about the patient's circumstances unknown to the prescribing doctor.

Read the entire article on The Weekly Standard website.

Posted: 5/13/04



Copyright 2001-2014 OrthodoxyToday.org. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article is subject to the policy of the individual copyright holder. Follow copyright link for details.
Copyright 2001-2014 OrthodoxyToday.org. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article is subject to the policy of the individual copyright holder. See OrthodoxyToday.org for details.


Article link: