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Two Physician-Assisted Suicide Expansion Bills Voted to Chamber Floors

Salem, OR–Two bills expanding physician-assisted suicide in Oregon have been sent to the full House and Senate. Senate Bill 579 was voted out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4-3 on April 8. House Bill 2217 was voted out of the House Health Care Committee by a vote of 7-4 on April 9.

“Oregon already has a substantial problem with elder abuse,” says Lois Anderson, ORTL executive director. “No testimony in committee made the case that expanding access to suicide drugs is justified. These bills open up substantial loopholes, further endangering some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

SB 579 would eliminate waiting periods for those near-death. This would make it possible for a malicious person to pressure a sick Oregonian into requesting physician-assisted suicide and ending their lives on the same day.

HB 2217 expands the ways that lethal medication can be administered. Currently, the medication must be taken by a person picking up the medication and swallowing it. The definition of “self-administer” in the bill is broad and could include IV, injection, and gas mask. This will foreseeably require or allow another person to administer the medication, making it euthanasia.

“In 2016 alone, there were over 4,000 reported victims of elder abuse,” continues Anderson. “Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law already lacks effective protections to protect someone from being euthanized. These bills would further eliminate what protections remain and allow murder to be disguised as suicide.”

Both bills were opposed by a variety of experts and officials. One group of officials held a press conference on Monday expressing their concerns.

For media interviews or inquiries, please contact Liberty Pike, ORTL communications director, at liberty at ortl.org.

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