Oregon’s voters believed that a competent adult who has a terminal illness should have the right to ask a physician for assistance in ending his or her life. This allows a patient to control the dying process and manage their illness with dignity. Instead of trying to end his/her life in a secretive or shameful manner, the patient has the right to seek professional medical advice and receive a painless, humane way to end life under his/her control. Under ODWDA, the steps are very specific, providing the patient an opportunity to understand their condition and seek counseling if desired. Once the patient expresses desire in the lethal treatment, a second physician provides an independent examination and confirms the initial physician’s findings. Finally, the physician can issue the prescription, but the patient must take the medication on their own; the physician cannot administer the lethal dose to the patient. This groundbreaking law by Oregon set the precedent for other states to issue similar laws since physician-assisted suicide is illegal in the United States.
Although the state law allowing the practice of physician-assisted suicide was passed in 1997, the federal government tried to oppose the law on the basis that physicians should not be encouraging a patient to end their life. On November 6, 2001, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General John Ashcroft issued the “Ashcroft Directive” that prohibited:
Physicians from dispensing or prescribing medications to assist in the suicides of patients … [the] Attorney General’s conclusion applies regardless of whether state... [continues]
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(2008, 06). Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Be Legalized in the United States. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 06, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Physician-Assisted-Suicide-Legalized-United-States-152295.html
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