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C&C Magazine

Editorial: Some laws little more than meddling

Lawmakers in … Salem have thrown kerosene on the perennially smoldering issue
of …assisted suicide this week, trying to make more difficult what they have been
unable to make illegal.

[House Bill 2016] is an effort seeking to undermine Oregon’s 1994 “Death With
Dignity Act.” Enacted by vote, it was upheld by Oregon voters in 1997 and by the
Supreme Court in 2006.

If enacted, (Emphasis added to all bolded statements) House Bill 2016 would turn
on its head the underlying assumption of the Death With Dignity Act that a
terminally ill person seeking doctor-assisted suicide is not mentally ill.

HB2016 “Requires patient seeking prescription for medication to end patient’s life
to undergo counseling. Requires psychiatrist or psychologist who determines that
patient’s request for prescription for medication to end patient’s life is appropriate
to report certain information to Oregon Health Authority.”

This is an unnecessary bill. The act as written already requires review by two
physicians of any assisted suicide aid request. This is a prudent measure to ensure
that a person who is seeking an assisted suicide is able to appreciate possible
alternatives that might not be evident to someone suffering from clinical depression.

House Bill 2016 was written by Rep. Jim Weidner of Yamhill and sponsored by
Reps. Jim Parrish of Tualatin/West Linn and Bill Kennemer of Oregon City. Jim
Thomson of Dallas also is listed on the names of the supporters, and all these
Republican men serve on the eight-member House Health Committee. Another
five lawmakers have signed on as well.

We oppose the expansion into the private lives of citizens by government that
both of these pieces of legislation represent.

We find it ironic that some of these leaders ran for office because they are
concerned that government has intruded into the lives of free citizens too
 Apparently, they are selective about what kinds of decisions they entrust to
citizens — even after those citizens repeatedly have made their feelings clear by
their votes.

For more information please visit www.CompassionofOregon.org