Human Exceptionalism

Rita Marker Tells It Like It Is About Oregon Assisted Suicide

Rita Marker is primarily responsible for dragging me kicking and screaming from pursuing Naderite endeavors to fighting against euthanasia and assisted suicide. I have worked with her closely for 15 years and have seen her dedication and intelligence first hand. If any single person can be credited, among the many able people who fight the death culture agenda, in materially slowing the spread of euthanasia/assisted suicide, it is Rita Marker.

Rita probably knows more about assisted suicide/euthanasia than any other person on either side of the issue. Her depth of understanding is abundantly displayed in a very good piece in The American Thinker.about the Oregon law in the context of Washington’s I-1000–dealing with issues studiously ignored by the MSM. She deals with the story of Oregon offering Medicaid patients assisted suicide after refusing life-extending chemotherapy, a matter we have covered here at SHS. She also exposes the utter unreliability of the Oregon annual statistical reports. She writes:

[U]nder Oregon’s law doctors participating in assisted suicide must file reports with the state. So the only physicians providing data for official annual reports are those who actually prescribe lethal drugs for patients. First, they help the person commit suicide and, afterwards, they report whether their actions complied with the law. Then, that information is used to formulate the state’s official annual reports. However, according to American Medical News, Oregon officials in charge of issuing the reports have conceded that “there’s no way to know if additional deaths went unreported.” (The official number of reported assisted-suicide deaths in Oregon is 341.)

Indeed, the official summary accompanying one annual report noted that there is no way to know if information provided by the physicians is accurate or complete. But, it stated, “[W]e, however, assume that doctors were being their usual careful and accurate selves.” The reporting agency also acknowledged that it has no authority or funding to investigate the accuracy of those self-reports. It would be nifty if the Internal Revenue Service allowed such unverified and unverifiable self-reporting.

I submit that transparency and accurate information are not the point of the Oregon guidelines: Giving false assurance is the purpose–just as in the Netherlands.

Case in point: Marker notes that vulnerable patients are totally unprotected once the lethal prescription is written:

Moreover, neither Oregon’s law nor Washington’s proposal has any type of protection for the patient once the prescription is written. While the requests for assisted suicide are to be made knowingly and voluntarily, there is no provision that the patient must knowingly and voluntarily take the lethal drugs. Dr. Katrina Hedberg, the lead author of most of Oregon’s official reports, acknowledged that there is no assessment of patients after the prescribing is completed. She said that the “law itself only provides for writing the prescription, not what happens afterwards.”

The dangers of such a system is easily discernible in the Kate Cheney case.

Read the whole thing. Rita really knows her stuff!