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Louis Kutner's Living Wills

However, it did open the door for Oregon to pass the first assisted suicide law in 1994, which took effect in 1997. The Death With Dignity law went into effect in Oregon in 1997, allowing terminally ill patients to request assistance in committing suicide, and by the end of 2003, 171 individuals had ended their lives with the help of lethal prescriptions (Physician, 2005). In 1994, the state of Oregon approved Ballot Measure 16 which would have legalized euthanasia under limited conditions. A person who sought physician-assisted suicide had to meet certain criteria:

-they must have 6 months or less to live

-they must make two oral requests for assistance in dying

-they must make one written request for assistance

-they must convince two physicians that they are sincere, are not acting on a whim, and that the decision is voluntary

-they must not have been influenced by depression

-they must be informed of the "feasible alternatives, including, but not limited to, comfort care, hospice care, and pain control

If they meet all these criteria, they can receive a prescription for a barbiturate that would be sufficient to cause death. Mercy killings by a family member or friend would not be allowed, nor assisted suicide of the type performed by Dr Jack Kevorkian. Physicians were prohibited from inducing death by injection or carbon monoxide. Informal polls in Oregon consistently showed people were in favor of such a law, including most physicians.

The National Right to Life Committee, with the support of the Catholic Church, obtained a court injunction delaying implementation of the law (Physician, 2005). The Oregon Medical Association came out against it late in the game for what it thought were legal flaws. Conservatives within the Oregon government forced approval in early 1997 of holding a second referendum. An employee of the state attorney general's office said on November 4, 1997 that the law had cleared ...

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Louis Kutner's Living Wills. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:52, August 24, 2017, from
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