Monday, November 14, 2016

Problems in Oregon and Washington's Physician-Assisted Suicide Laws

* I've been teaching on end-of-life issues (physician-assisted suicide, euthanasia, etc.) for a Sunday School class--see HERE for details.  I put together this brief sheet as part of that series.


Problems and Concerns with the Physician-assisted Death Statutes in Oregon and Washington:

The claim is made that there are “adequate controls” in place to hinder abuse of the system.

In Oregon and Washington the following problems are evident:

1.     The doctor who prescribes a lethal overdose self-reports the incident.  There is no oversight from another source.

2.     The doctor who prescribes the lethal overdose selects the doctor who is to give the “second opinion” on the case.

3.     The doctor who prescribes the lethal overdose is the one who decides whether the person needs psychological counseling.

4.     The doctor is not required to give any notification to family members.

5.     The doctor often works in conjunction with pro-suicide groups.

6.     The doctor does not need to be present when the person dies.

7.     The doctor signs the death certificate.  The statement of cause of death is not physician-assisted death but, rather, the underlying medical condition.


Richard M. Doerflinger, “Don’t Let Assisted Suicide Come to the Nation’s Capital,” Public Discourse (November 14, 2016).  Online:

“Some Oregon Assisted Suicide Abuses and Complications” Not Dead Yet Washington.  Online:

“Assisted Suicide Laws in Oregon and Washington: What Safeguards?” Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities (September 22, 2016).  Online: