October 6, 2005 |
The Supreme Court appeared deeply split yesterday over the future of Oregon's unique assisted-suicide law, with new Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. - presiding over his first major argument at the court - seeming skeptical of at least part of Oregon's argument. Setting the stage for one of the blockbuster rulings of their new term, the justices had tough questions for the state's lawyer, who asserted that the federal Controlled Substances Act did not empower the U.S. attorney general to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients end their lives under Oregon's Death With Dignity Act. The regulation of medical practice, he said, has been left to states for 200 years.
October 31, 2014 |
A California newlywed, Brittany Maynard, 29, diagnosed with a swift and fatal brain cancer, has moved with her husband to Oregon so she can have control at the end of her life under Oregon's pioneering death-with-dignity law. She has legally obtained a lethal prescription and intends to use it, possibly as early as Saturday (or may hold off for a later date, according to a video she posted on YouTube Thursday morning). And she has partnered with Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group pushing for more laws like Oregon's, to use her death to raise awareness and support for physician-assisted suicide, now available in only five states.
October 28, 1999 |
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation yesterday that in effect would overturn an Oregon law permitting physician-assisted suicides, while giving doctors more leeway to prescribe narcotics to reduce suffering in seriously ill patients. The bill, which passed, 271-156, would set new national standards for easing pain in the seriously ill and, in effect, prevent states from adopting their own versions of the five-year-old Oregon law, which enables terminally ill patients to end their lives with the aid of doctor-prescribed painkillers.
October 24, 2013 |
If she lived in Oregon, Washington state, or Vermont, Barbara Mancini could have handed her terminally ill father the morphine he wanted, and there the story would have ended. But in Pennsylvania, it was just the start of a legal saga that has refueled the national debate over assisted suicide and cast the 57-year-old Philadelphia nurse as either a compassionate daughter comforting a dying man, or a criminal enabler in his death. Under the state penal code, "a person who intentionally aids or solicits another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony.
November 13, 2001 |
You'd think U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft could fill his day issuing vague terrorism alerts and not finding the source of anthrax. But no. He has time to quash state laws he doesn't like. He's now after Oregon's assisted-suicide law, which Beaver State voters have passed two times. Now wait a sec, you say. Aren't Ashcroft and his boss George W. Bush both conservatives who want to send more power back to the states? As the song goes, states' rights is a sometimes thing. They believe that states should run their own affairs, as long as the religious right and big business approve.
August 27, 2000
In a respected regional hospital, a doctor gently but firmly tells a man admitting his cancer-stricken wife that the woman will not be coming home. A few weeks later, the grim prediction proves all too accurate. It was more than just a savvy call on the progress of a disease. The physician likely understood that the pain-relief drugs he planned to prescribe ran the risk of hastening death. This patient - who'd sought a pain-free end of life since her terminal diagnosis - was glad that her doctors didn't shy from a regimen of effective pain relief, despite the risk of what doctors call "the double effect.
March 13, 2012 |
PORTLAND, Ore. - A Portland physician who campaigned for an Oregon law that allows patients with terminal conditions to end their lives died Sunday after using lethal chemicals obtained under the initiative he championed. He was 83. Peter Goodwin died Sunday at his home surrounded by his family, said a spokesman for the organization Compassion and Choices. Goodwin battled a rare brain disorder for six years and was losing his ability to move. "We just haven't come to terms with the fact that we're going to die, all of us, and to make concessions to that is really giving up hope," he said in a recent interview.
June 3, 2004 |
On May 26, a federal appeals court upheld Oregon's assisted-suicide law. That's the right result. But the court reached it for the wrong reasons. The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sidestepped the real issue - whether an individual has a right to commit suicide - and decided the case on a technicality. Normally, the court said, it is state government, not Washington, that decides what constitutes the practice of medicine. So, when John Ashcroft's Justice Department decreed that a doctor's prescription of lethal drugs to terminally ill patients can serve no "legitimate medical purpose," the federal government overstepped its authority.
January 24, 2006 |
As the baby boomers age, more and more Americans will either be enduring chronic pain or taking care of someone in pain. The Republican Party has been reaching out to them with a two-step plan: 1. Do not give patients medicine to ease their pain. 2. If they are in great pain and near death, do not let them put an end to their misery. The Republicans have been so determined to become the Pain Party that they've brushed aside their traditional belief in states' rights. The Bush administration wants lawyers in Washington and federal prosecutors with no medical training to tell doctors how to treat patients.
March 10, 2005 |
THE Academy Award-winning "Million Dollar Baby" has brought back into public focus the issue of assisted suicide. When the average American thinks of assisted suicide, the first thing that comes to mind is likely the infamous Dr. Jack Kevorkian, dubbed the "Angel of Death," who was imprisoned in 1999 for helping some terminally ill people end their lives. But despite the theatrics that surrounded the Kevorkian case, assisted suicide is a serious issue that continues to affect the lives of terminally ill adults and their families, as well as those who believe in the right of the terminally ill to die with dignity on their own terms.