'Radical' expansion of assisted suicide in Oregon is 'too extreme'

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

The Oregon House of Representatives this week voted to expand the state's assisted suicide programme by repealing the residency requirement.

Assisted suicide has been legal in Oregon since 1997 but is limited to residents of the state.

Bill 2279 will lift the residency requirement so that Oregon physicians can prescribe life-ending medication to out-of-state residents.

The Bill passed through the House of Representatives this week and will now proceed to the State Senate for approval. 

Justin Hageman, Public Affairs Specialist at Oregon Right to Life, expressed disappointment at the vote.

"We didn't expect much different. Pro-life legislators stood firm, but the pro-euthanasia majority voted to expand the 'Death With Dignity' act and remove the residency requirement," he said. 

"Current law already puts vulnerable Oregonians at risk, like the elderly and people with disabilities. But now they're targeting other states."

Oregon House Republican Leader, Vikki Breese-Iverson, called the plans "too extreme".

"I am deeply concerned about the repercussions of this decision and how this will make Oregon appear on the national stage," she said. 

"This radical expansion of assisted suicide is the latest example of the majority party exerting their authority over Oregon voters.

"I urge my colleagues in the Senate to vote no on this legislation. This is too extreme for Oregon."

The House backed the Bill despite new data released by the Oregon Health Authority showing a year-on-year increase in the number of deaths by assisted suicide. 

According to figures published this month, 431 people received prescriptions for death by assisted suicide in Oregon last year and 278 people died by this method, up from 238 in 2021.

Pain was cited as a reason in less than a third of cases (31%), while nearly half (46%) said they feared being a "burden" on loved ones.