Thursday, June 12, 2014

Legalizing Assisted Suicide is a Mistake

The following letter was printed in the New Jersey Courier-Post on June 11, 2014.

Sign the Declaration of Hope to oppose assisted suicide in America.

I am a doctor in Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal. I understand that your Legislature is considering taking a similar step.

I was first exposed to this issue in 1982, shortly before my first wife died of cancer. We had just visited her doctor. As we were leaving, he had suggested that she overdose herself on medication.

I still remember the look of horror on her face. She said, “Ken, he wants me to kill myself.”

Our assisted-suicide law was passed in 1997. In 2000, one of my patients was adamant she would use our law. Over three or four visits, I stalled her and ultimately convinced her to be treated instead. Nearly 14 years later, she is thrilled to be alive.

In Oregon, the combination of assisted-suicide legalization and prioritized medical care based on prognosis has created a danger for my patients on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid).

Helpful treatments are often not covered. The plan will cover the patient’s suicide.

Protect your health care. Tell your legislators to vote “no” on assisted suicide.

Don’t make Oregon’s mistake.

Kenneth Stevens, M.D.
Sherwood, Oregon

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