X-Message-Number: 10465
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:11:39 -0700
From: David Brandt-Erichsen <>
Subject: Senate panel passes anti-PAS bill

Senate committee passes bill to derail Oregon assisted suicide law

                                      By JOHN HUGHES The Associated
                                     Press 09/24/98 12:08 PM Eastern

                WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate Judiciary Committee today
passed a bill that would derail Oregon's assisted suicide law. But the
committee's chairman said the bill won't gain final passage this year.

                Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, told committee members he
wanted them to approve the bill to further debate on the issue.

                Hatch said he was motivated to pass the bill because of
the Oregon law that allows assisted suicide and Dr. Kevorkian, and
because of a law in the Netherlands that allows wide use of assisted

                Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has pledged to use a filibuster
and other stalling tactics if the bill reaches the Senate floor.

                The House version of the bill by Rep. Henry Hyde,
R-Ill., is pending on the House floor. It's unclear when the full House
will vote.

                Several Democrats and Republicans on the committee said
they had concerns about the Senate bill and were voting for it only
with the understanding it would not be taken up on the Senate floor
this year.

                The committee then passed the bill on an 11-6 vote with
most Democrats opposing it.

                The concerns, voiced the most loudly by Democratic
Sens.  Dianne Feinstein of California and Patrick Leahy of Vermont,
were mainly that the legislation would discourage doctors from
prescribing an adequate level of pain-killing medication.

                Several medical groups have also used that argument
against the bill, which would lead to physicians losing their license
to prescribe federally controlled substances if they use those
substances to assist in a suicide.

                Asked why he felt the bill won't pass this year, Hatch
said, `Anybody can stop any bill right now on the floor, and the
president can veto any bill. I suspect that unless we have more of a
bipartisan consensus it will be stalled."

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