Testing Ground for Doctor-Assisted Suicide National Attention Has Turned to Oregon's Year-Old Law, Which Strictly Regulates the Practice. as Opposition Grows, Alternatives, Such as Hospice Care, Are Getting More Support

By Brad Knickerbocker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Testing Ground for Doctor-Assisted Suicide National Attention Has Turned to Oregon's Year-Old Law, Which Strictly Regulates the Practice. as Opposition Grows, Alternatives, Such as Hospice Care, Are Getting More Support


Brad Knickerbocker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A year after Oregon's "Death with Dignity" law made it legal for physicians to help certain patients take their own lives, this profound and controversial measure has begun to have significant impact across the United States.

It has prompted a congressional attempt to restrict the use of certain federally controlled drugs that could expedite death. It has accelerated the use of hospice and palliative care for patients diagnosed as terminally ill. Above all, it has become a major issue for religious and other groups commonly associated with the fight to prevent abortion.

Gary Bauer, head of the conservative Family Research Council and a possible candidate for the presidency, recently called the fight to prevent physician-assisted suicide "the front line of the battle to protect the sanctity of human life." Other anti-abortion organizations have weighed in as well. Burke Balch, medical ethics director for the National Right to Life Committee, says doctors who provide drugs designed to take a patient's life and pharmacists who prescribe such drugs "should have their licenses revoked." Religious groups weigh in Meeting in Washington this week, Roman Catholic bishops are working on a proposal to make assisted suicide - along with abortion - one of the church's top political priorities. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actively opposes the practice as well. Mormon Church officials have declared that hastening the end of one's life undermines the "measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society." Church spokesman Don LeFevre recently told the Deseret News in Salt Lake City that taking part in suicide or euthanasia "violates the commandments of God." Following Oregon's groundbreaking move, critics warned there would be a spurt of secretive Kevorkian-type demises, that out-of-staters would rush here to commit suicide, that safety measures built into the law would fail and strictly controlled suicide would become involuntary euthanasia. None of that has happened. Only about a dozen individuals have ended their lives under the law, which requires a 15-day waiting period and a second opinion as to the patient's mental condition, and which specifically prohibits "lethal injection, mercy killing, or active euthanasia." Caution seems to have been the byword as medical professionals and their patients move into this controversial new world touching on the most profound of questions.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Testing Ground for Doctor-Assisted Suicide National Attention Has Turned to Oregon's Year-Old Law, Which Strictly Regulates the Practice. as Opposition Grows, Alternatives, Such as Hospice Care, Are Getting More Support
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?