Oregon, the first in the US to legalize “assisted suicide,” is making arrangements to allow non-residents to enter the state for the sole purpose of dying there.
Following an appeal that challenged the need for in-state residency for those wishing to access “assisted suicide,” the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board decided to discontinue enforcement of the statutory provision. The two institutes will also demand that the legislature officially remove the residency requirement, thus allowing true death tourism to flourish.
“This requirement was discriminatory and also profoundly unfair to terminally ill patients at the most critical time in their lives,” says Kevin Diaz, an attorney with Compassion & Choices. Diaz denies, however, that he is trying to entice suicidal people to gather in Oregon. “There’s no tourism going on,” he says.
Nonetheless, Brittany Maynard, the protagonist of Oregon’s most famous “assisted suicide” case, moved to that state for the very purpose of dying. After all, even countries without a residency requirement for “assisted suicide”, such as Switzerland, are visited by people from all over the world who are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars for doctors to assist them in their suicide.
While proponents of “assisted suicide” say that more and more states should allow doctors to kill their patients, Oregon’s own data should put a pause on the expansion of this deadly program.
Namely, Oregon’s most recent annual report continues to show troubling data. The reasons people choose “assisted suicide,” in fact, are recurring. For 93%, it is the “loss of autonomy,” 92% feeling “less able to engage in activities that make life enjoyable,” and for 68% it is the “loss of dignity.” The detachment between the first two reasons and the third, even though the third also leaves you dumbfounded, is tragically indicative. Oregon has also allowed people to be killed for anorexia, claiming to be the top state for prevalence of mental illness. Yet less than 1% of patients killed were first referred to psychiatrists. As for unbearable pain, which is the reason most frequently cited as an excuse by those who choose “assisted suicide,” very few people have complained about it.
And the number of patients who experienced complications increased slightly, although no information is available for more than half of the patients killed.
Laura Echevarria, a spokeswoman for National Right to Life, has no doubt and tells NBC News: the decision will not only encourage death tourism, it will pave the way for a multitude of other abuses.
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