X-Message-Number: 3398
From: Ralph Merkle <>
Subject: CRYONICS Oregon's Physician Assisted Suicide Passes
Date: 	Thu, 10 Nov 1994 07:13:01 PST

>From the Wall Street Journal, Thursday November 10, 1994, page A7:

Voters Break New Ground With Oregon's Suicide Law

Election Day '94 marked a turning point in the right-to-die movement,
with Oregon voters narrowly accepting the nation's first law legalizing
physician-assisted suicide.


The Oregon suicide measure is expected to gain international attention,
provided its passage is confirmed by the counting of 265,000 absentee
ballots over the next couple of days.  The measure was leading 52% to
48%, with 99% of precincts reporting -- a margin of close to 40,000
votes -- and neither supporters nor opponents expected the outcome to
change.  While other states are moving to ban assisted suicides like
those involving Jack Kevorkian of Michigan, Oregon's measure goes in
the opposite direction and would make it the first place in the world
to legalize doctor-assisted suicides.  The Netherlands now tolerates
euthanasia, though it is still technically illegal.

The measure would allow doctors to prescribe suicide pills to a
terminally ill patient with less than six months to live, who gets a
second medical opinion, makes three requests and doesn't appear to
be suffering from a mental disorder. Polls show the American public
is deeply split over the issue.  While supporters argue that people
deserve more control over their deaths, assisted suicide is opposed
by the Roman Catholic Church and other religious groups, the American
Medical Association and some ethicists who argue it could lead to
wider use of euthanasia.

Derek Humphrey, founder of the Hemlock Society, which favors assisted
suicides, said he doesn't expect a surge of suicides once the law
goes into effect in 30 days -- provided opponents don't find a way
to block it.  He estimated "probably a handful in the whole state,
if that," will be interested in using the law anytime soon.  But he
said its passage increases chances that other states and legislators
will try to adopt similar measures.

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