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Oregon's Death with Dignity Law


Former Attorney General John Ashcroft's zeal to fight Oregon's Death with Dignity Law is nothing less than an effort for a member of one religion to impose his beliefs on the rest of the country.

Oregonians voted in favor of the Death With Dignity Act in 1994, and three years later they voted against repeal. The Oregon law allows terminally ill people who are likely to die within six months to receive drugs to end their lives. When John Ashcroft, a longtime opponent of assisted suicide, became attorney general in 2001, he issued an edict that doctors who prescribe drugs that are used to commit suicide can be prosecuted under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The state of Oregon and a group of terminally ill patients challenged this Ashcroft directive and won...

In his zeal to stop assisted suicide, Mr. Ashcroft, a self-described legal conservative, turned his back on two principles that are sacred to legal conservativism. First, he refused to strictly, or even accurately, construe a Congressional statute. Instead, he inserted meaning in it that did not belong there, giving himself power that he should not have had. Second, he ignored conservative dogma about deference to the states, especially on matters like regulating medical practice, a core state concern. more

To read more on states' rights, click here.

Justices Explore U.S. Authority Over States on Assisted Suicide, New York Times, October 6, 2005

Court Hears Case on Suicide Law, Washington Post, October 6, 2005

In Oregon, Choosing Death Over Suffering, New York Times, June 1, 2004

NYTimes , Choosing Death, July14, 2004

Justices Accept Oregon Case Weighing Assisted Suicide, New York Times, February 23, 2005


Last updated: October-2005