Changes to Death with Dignity Act Stalled by Lack of Support

But Rep, Jim Weidner, who sponsored the legislation, intends to seek bipartisan support during the interim
The Lund Report

April 11, 2011 -- A bill backed by nine House Republicans undermining Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act will not move forward this legislative session, acknowledged its chief sponsor Rep. Jim Weidner (R-Yamhill).

It would have prohibited a physician from giving a terminally ill person life-ending medication unless they had undergone counseling by a psychiatrist or a psychologist who had determined that the person was able to make an informed decision and did not suffer from depression or a psychological disorder. The professional would have had to report this information to the Oregon Health Authority.
 
Advocates say the legislation (House Bill 2016) would undermine Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act by implicitly assuming that terminally ill persons seeking to use the Act suffer from mental illnesses.
 
“The Oregon law is not about mental illness. It’s about the ability to make a good healthcare decision,” said Jason Renaud, executive director of Compassion & Choices of Oregon. “This is a barrier to individual choice.”
 
He also said the legislation is redundant.
 
“Two Oregon physicians are already required to certify that eligible patients exhibit no signs of depression or psychological disorder causing impaired judgment,” Renaud said. “No patient with impaired judgment has taken life-ending medication under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.”
 
Compassion & Choices of Oregon has launched a campaign to rally supporters of physician-assisted suicide. More than 1,000 people had responded, Renaud said.
 
“This is in their portfolio of legal rights, and they’re not willing to go back to past times and let people dictate what you can and can’t do,” Renaud said.
 
Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland), who co-chairs the House Health Care, refused to give the bill a hearing, but did not say why. 
 
However, Weidner doesn’t intend to give up. “This bill will be worked during the interim to find some bi-partisan collaborative solutions,” he told The Lund Report through email, but did not provide further comment.
 
The Death with Dignity Act passed the Legislature in 1994, and was reaffirmed by over 60 percent of voters in 1997 during a referendum. 

 

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Comments

If someone does not like the Death with Dignity Act then don't use it, but whether someone chooses to end their life with physician assisted suicide is their business and no one should have the right to tell them they can't do it. Whose life is it anyway?

I thought Republicans were all for individual freedoms and government keeping it's nose out of private family choices, (except when it comes to the vagina, of course)? Why butt in now? Is there some big cache of money to be made by changing the law? And if the Republicans of this state are so damned concerned about people making poor choices due to the state of their mental health, maybe they should be pushing for funding for more crisis centers, beds and treatment facilities for those in need of counseling that are NOT terminally ill. We've voted twice. The people of Oregon have sent a resounding message that we want those who have no chance of recovery to die in peace instead of suffering. Let it be.

Quality palliative care (comfort care) at the end of life along with sound pain management is what allows people to die in peace and alleviates suffering. I am one, along with over 40% of others in this state, who did not vote for assisted suicide. People on both sides of this issue for the most part do not wish extended suffering for the terminally ill (I have relatives and friends who have died in these situations). I do not necessarily support Weidner's bill. However I DO support comfort care, alleviating suffering, and valuing life all through life including at the end of life. I also support the ability to have respectful dissent without resorting to juvenile personal attacks.

The Republican's, naturally. You know, the party that believes that individual rights trump everything else . . . except when their religion disagrees with your rights. Remember Senator Frist's tele-diagnosis of Terry Schiavo.

As a volunteer for Compassion and Choices in California, I envy the people of Oregon for having the wisdom to pass this enlightened legislation. The only quibble I have with the opponents of the proposed bill is that the process is now more accurately described as "Physician Aid in Dying" rather than "Physician Assisted Suicide.

Rep. Weidner needs to see a psychiatrist about why he feels the need to impose his beliefs on the rest of us.

You obviously have no idea how this whole process works and how people can be gently "guided" into making the decision to end it all. Families are also guided into their supportive stances. This is a dangerous thing.

you obviously have no idea how the whole process works. People who are in more pain than you have ever imagined want to hasten death and you judge them for that?