US Law: Oregon Death with Dignity Act

Oregon Death with Dignity Law is Oregon State law that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with utmost dignity with their own will. It works in a way that terminal illness that leaves a patient in endless pain and suffering and have almost nil chances to survive for more than six months are given death hastening medicines that cause them to sleep and ends their life in that sleep in a matter of minutes. It is stated as the Oregon Death with Dignity Act because Oregon was the first State to legalize assisted suicide. It was quite controversial procedure that was dismissed quite a few times before it was legalized by Oregon State voters. Oregon voters approved the Death with Dignity Act in the year 1994 the implementation of the law began in 1998 after that it came into a few controversial issues and was nullified under multiple attempts for a while from time to time by federal law until it was registered once again. After that in the year 2006, US Supreme Court ruled that Oregon physicians can prescribe life-ending medication under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Since then 1,500 terminally ill patients have taken the oral prescriptions to help them in assisted dying, and just fewer than 1,000 patients used that medication to hasten their actual death. The Act has been in effect for almost 20 years and even though it has been the center of controversial attention there haven’t been any records of a case mishap. Due to its controversial background, no government assistance has been offered, although State health department keeps an eye on the cases and monitors the law. The procedure begins with an initial oral request for the medication and having a prescription for the medicine by a physician. You must make your request in the presence of a physician who must be licensed by the State. To legally obtain a prescription for assisted suicide that is assisted by a qualified physician and causes you to end your life in a dignified manner, one must be Eligible to qualify for a prescription. This means that you need to be:
  • A resident of State Oregon, California, Washington, Colorado or Vermont
  • At least 18 or older
  • Mentally competent - i.e. you are capable of communicating briefly about your decision of assisted suicide
  • A patient of a terminal illness, that is reasonable and proved by medical judgment, and may lead to death within six months.
  • You are able to take the prescribed medicine by yourself and ingest it within a period of consumption
  • You should be able to self-administer and consume the prescribed medication on your own
  • And finally you need approval from at least two qualified physicians assuring that you have met the above criteria.
You can prove your residency with an identity card, a driver’s license, state tax return, a voter’s registration or a document of residential property of either rented or your own. The above documents should be from within the State of California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington.