Oregon Right to Life on State Assisted Suicide Report

Salem -- Relying solely on data provided by those who have a vested interest in justifying their participation in assisted suicide, the Oregon Health Department today released its second- year report on assisted suicide in Oregon.

Unwarranted conclusions derived from a methodologically flawed study provide readers with information which leads to the dangerous conclusion that assisted suicide is functioning well in Oregon.

As predicted, social acceptance of assisted suicide does, and will continue to, increase the number of deaths from assisted suicide. The number of deaths in 1999 from assisted suicide increased dramatically 68% over the number of deaths in 1998.

"Dry statistics from the report hide the truth of the human tragedies of coercion suffered by those facing terminal illness," said Gayle Atteberry, Executive Director of Oregon Right to Life. "Nowhere in the report do we read about Kate Cheney, assisted suicide victim. Though diagnosed by two psychiatrists as suffering from dementia, Cheney was openly pushed toward assisted suicide by her determined daughter. (See Oregonian article Oct. 17, 1999 by Erin Hoover Barnett entitled "Is Mom Capable of Choosing to Die?") How many other abuses are hiding in these dry numbers?"

Tragically, the report verifies the abandonment of those suffering a terminal illness. Fears of dependency on others, the most common reason for requesting assisted suicide, never appear to be addressed. "Counseling to address depression and dependency concerns and adequate pain management techniques exist for all those suffering the many fears confronting terminally ill patients," explained Mrs. Atteberry. "As a compassionate society, we need to treat the symptoms, not kill the patient."

Source: Oregon Right to Life Press Release, February 23, 2000
Oregon Right to Life, 4335 River Road North, Salem, Oregon 97303 For more information call us at (503)463-8563 or email ortl@ortl.org.

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