Does Oregon's Death With Dignity Act Promote Freedom

Essay by political_truthUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2005

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

In this essay, I will discuss the controversy surrounding the Death With Dignity Act in the state of Oregon. First, I will discuss the specifics of the court case in question. Next, I will discuss opposing viewpoints from both sides. Finally, I will then explain which decision I believe would promote freedom more according to the definitions outlined in the United States Constitution.

Voters in the state of Oregon passed the Death With Dignity Act in 1997, which allowed Doctors to prescribe lethal doses of federally regulated medicine to terminally ill patients who desired to end their own lives. The law itself contains very specific outlines as to its operation. The patient in question must be terminally ill with less than six months to live. This must be verified by at least two doctors. The patients' mental health status must also be checked by at least two doctors. According to Eli D.

Stutsman, a lawyer representing a physician in the case, only 20-25 people a year out of the 30,000 that die in Oregon annually choose death in this manner. Janet Reno, the Attorney General under President Clinton, decided that the federal government would not pursue criminal charges against doctors who issued the lethal prescriptions, so long as they followed the procedures outlined in the Oregon law.

The Bush administration disagreed with the stance taken by the Clinton Administration. The Bush administration believes that suicide is not a "legitimate medical purpose" to prescribe lethal doses to patients. Therefore, in the opinion of the Bush administration, doctors who prescribe the lethal doses of medicine could stand to lose their Federal Prescription License, which would make it nearly impossible for the physician to remain in practice due to the various medicines they would be unable to prescribe.

I personally side with...