Republicans control both chambers of Congress and likely could muster enough votes to block the Oregon law that allows physician-assisted suicide. But an apparent about-face by an Oregon senator could alter the political landscape in the Senate.
After winning a 6-3 Supreme Court decision, supporters of the Oregon law gained a second, unexpected victory: the grudging support of Republican senator Gordon Smith.
In 2000, Smith supported legislation that would have blocked the Oregon law by preventing doctors from prescribing lethal doses of federally controlled pain medications. But Smith suggested on January 17 that he would not do so again.
“Regardless of my personal position on assisted suicide, Oregon’s law has been tested at every branch of our government and the judgment of Oregon’s voters has been affirmed,” Smith said in a statement. “I accept the Supreme Court’s decision and Congress should do the same.”