October 02, 2005

More on Oregon's 'Death with Dignity' law.

As we noted the other day, The US Supreme Court has decided to hear a challenge to an Oregon law that allows terminally ill patients to choose a phyisican-assisted death via an overdose of medication. Oregon is the only state in the US to have such a law.

This week's edition of the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly has an excellent background piece on the legal and ethical issues surrounding the law.

[Reporter Tim] O'BRIEN: Conservatives in Congress had long opposed the Oregon law, among them, John Ashcroft, then a senator from Missouri. When Ashcroft later became Attorney General, he formally challenged the law, arguing it conflicted with the Federal Controlled Substances Act that dangerous drugs like Seconal may only be used for a "legitimate medical purpose," and suicide, concluded Ashcroft, "is not a legitimate medical purpose."

Hardy Myers is the Attorney General of Oregon:

HARDY MYERS (Attorney General, Oregon): I think the respect for states' rights kind of is stronger or weaker depending upon whether the action the state is taking is one the particular administration in question likes.

O'BRIEN: Ashcroft expressly reversed the policy of the previous administration and his predecessor, Attorney General Janet Reno. Reno had said, "There is no evidence Congress ... intended to displace the states as the primary regulators of the medical profession."

Mr. MYERS: We've got a straightforward effort to regulate the doctor-patient relationship at the most intimate level because of the intention of the use of the drugs. Now that is bringing the federal government into the very -- the most foundational level of the practice of medicine.

You can either go here to find out when the show runs on your local station or you can read the transcript here.

Posted by Magpie at October 2, 2005 02:54 PM | Oregon News & Politics | Technorati links |

You know, we're smarter than everyone else out there... afterall, we've got paper ballots!

Posted by: Thomas Ware at October 2, 2005 08:56 PM