The Oregon Studies are Invalid

By Margaret Dore
On February 9, 2011, Oregon assisted-suicide proponents testified before the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee in support of a proposed Oregon-style assisted suicide act, SB 167.

The next day, Senator Jeff Essmann observed that, based on their testimony, studies from Oregon claiming that assisted-suicide is safe, are invalid.  These studies include Oregon's annual reports, which indicate that patients self-administer the lethal dose.[1] Senator Essmann stated:

“[All] the protections [in Oregon’s law] end after the prescription is written.  [The proponents] admitted that the provisions in the Oregon law would permit one person to be alone in that room with the patient. And in that situation, there is no guarantee that that medication is self-administered.

So frankly, any of the studies that come out of the state of Oregon’s experience are invalid because no one who administers that drug . . . to that patient is going to be turning themselves in for the commission of a homicide."[2]

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[1]  See e.g., Oregon's annual report for 2010 (stating "Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act (DWDA), enacted in late 1997, allows terminallyill adult Oregonians to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for selfadministered, lethal doses of medications").  (Emphasis added).   
The term, "self-administer," is not used in Oregon's act; in Washington's act, the term, "self-administer," is a specially defined term allowing someone else to administer the lethal dose.  See, for example, this brief pp. 8-9, discussing the Oregon and Washington acts.
[2]  Montana Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on SB 167, February 10, 2011, page 15.