Professor M. Shane Heard
In Partial Fulfillment of Credit for;
English 108: College Writing and Research
Missouri Western State College
March 9, 2005
On Tuesday, March 24, an elderly Oregon woman, acting with the aid of a doctor, dosed herself with potent chemicals and died. The woman had lived with breast cancer for more than 20 years. By all accounts her final hours were private and peaceful, as she became one of the first people in American history to end her life lawfully with the aid of a physician (Oregonian A1). She was able to end her life peacefully due to controversial legislation passed in her state. The Death with Dignity Act was passed by the state of Oregon in 1994. It allows physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of medication so that a terminally ill patient can end his or her life. The requirements set forth by the state statute are as follows: "An adult who is capable, is a resident of Oregon, and has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, and who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die, may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner" (Death with Dignity Act 569.32) Therefore, it is of great importance that the Death with Dignity Act remains law. It sets a president for the United States. If the act continues as enacted law then all other states can pass similar legislation that will end the suffering of terminally ill patients. All terminally ill patients should have this right. Moreover, the physician assisted suicide law stood up to its opposition. This law took many years and withstood tremendous opposition in order to be passed. In October of 1997 The United States Supreme Court denied a hearing brought forth by opponents of the law. This allowed physician assisted suicide to go into effect. The State of Oregon has since won every opposing...