X-Message-Number: 10462
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 07:31:29 -0700
From: David Brandt-Erichsen <>
Subject: Oregon Judge Hogan upholds law

Sep23 03:13

Judge rejects legal challenge to Oregon's assisted-suicide law

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - A federal judge has rejected a challenge to Oregon's
landmark doctor-assisted suicide law, saying opponents lacked legal
standing to
renew a failed lawsuit. The law passed by Oregon voters in 1994 and
affirmed in
1997 allows terminally ill people to obtain lethal prescriptions of drugs.
Since the law took effect last fall, at least eight people have used it to end
their lives. 

U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan on Tuesday said the issue being argued has
been settled by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Opponents had argued
that the law might not pose a direct threat of injury, but creates a
injury" to the terminally ill by making their lives worth 
less than others. 

Hogan had overturned the law in the first round of legal challenges. He
said he
was forced to dismiss the latest effort because of the appeals court's
that a plaintiff must suffer an actual injury to bring a challenge. Hogan's
ruling does not end efforts to derail Oregon's law. Bills currently in
would prohibit the dispensing of a federally regulated drug for the purpose of
assisting a suicide. 

The Oregon Catholic Conference, a leading opponent, "is deeply disappointed by
the ruling which effectively shuts the courthouse door to plaintiffs
wanting to
challenge the constitutionality," said conference spokesman Bob Castagna.
Barbara Coombs Lee, chief sponsor of the law, said she was pleased with
decision. She said there must be an injury to go to court "and nobody in
has been injured" by the law. 

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