Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Oregon Assisted Suicide Law...

all info from:

"What's wrong with the Oregon law?

Oregon adopted a similar law ten years ago and proponents point to Oregon as an example of an assisted suicide law that is working. But, there are serious problems with the Oregon law.
Proponents say the Oregon Law works, is only occasionally utilized, and is not abused. What's your response?

The so-called model in Oregon, vaunted by assisted suicide's proponents, has very weak, permeable "safeguards" with problems including doctor shopping, allowing depression to dictate patient choice, inexact prognoses, and protections for doctors but not for patients. The few protections present on paper are not present in reality. Also, the Oregon law has a significantly flawed monitoring system featuring no investigations of abuse and no oversight. There are no penalties for doctors who fail to report assisting suicides. The State acknowledges its underlying data is destroyed after each annual report, making it impossible to verify those reports' conclusions independently.

Are there any recent studies regarding the impact of Oregon's law?

The June 2008 issue of the prestigious Michigan Law Review compiled an analysis of the ramifications of Oregon’s assisted suicide law and the evidence isn’t pretty. Dr. Herbert Hendin, psychiatrist and CEO/Medical Director of Suicide Prevention International, a nonprofit organization located in New York, and Dr. Kathleen Foley, neurologist and professor at Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, examined the Oregon story.

The Hendin-Foley study (found here in PDF) cites specific examples where opinions of patients’ long-time attending physicians are ignored and doctors with only a smattering of familiarity with the patient write the prescription for the lethal dose of barbiturates.

Drs. Hendin and Foley summed up the concerns, saying, "If the patient has seen no one knowledgeable enough to undertake to understand and relieve the desperation, anxiety, and depression that underlie most requests for assisted suicide, then even if the patient is capable, an informed decision is not possible."

What is "doctor shopping?"

In Oregon, if your doctor says he or she will not prescribe you lethal drugs, you can simply find another doctor who will. Many of the Oregon reports show that 80% to 90% of patients using the Oregon law had a referral, not through their family doctor, but through the pro-assisted suicide organization "Compassion and Choices." The Oregonian, the state's major newspaper, complained in 2005 that the law's reporting system "seems rigged to avoid finding" the answers. Its limitations keep hidden any abuses and irregularities.

Where can I find out more about problems with the Oregon law?

Here are fact sheets (PDF) about:

* No Safeguards
* No Reporting
* Oregon Doctors

Chris Carlson Cancer and Parkinsons patient, Chair of the Coalition Against Assisted Suicide stated: "If one reads this study, you can almost guarantee they will recognize how false is the tired refrain by I-1000 backers that the law is working well in Oregon. Assisted suicide is clearly not working in Oregon and it is pure myth to claim that it is."

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