Sixty Oregonians ended their lives last year by taking a lethal drug dose prescribed under the Death with Dignity Act, state officials have reported. That’s the highest annual total in the 11-year history of the law—11 more than in 2007. Deaths from a drug prescribed under the Oregon law now account for two of every 1,000 deaths in Oregon.
As Jack Kevorkian was released June 1 from a Michigan prison after serving eight years for second-degree murder in the assisted death of a man with Lou Gehrig’s disease, new polls suggested that his cause retains strong support.
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.
Thirty-seven Oregonians died by doctor-assisted suicide last year, a slight decrease from 42 the year before, according to a state report. During the seven-year history of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, assisted suicide has accounted for 208 deaths—roughly one in 1,000 deaths in the state.
The Bush administration asked a federal appellate court July 12 to reconsider its spring decision to uphold Oregon’s assisted-suicide law. It would like the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside its May ruling that backed the only law in the country that permits doctors to assist patients in hastening their deaths, the Associated Press reported.