& AUGUSTA, ME – Government documents show that just five days before a
national group that advocates for physician assisted suicide testified in
support of a Maine law that allowed physician assisted suicide after a
fifteen-day waiting period, the same group was working to undermine that key safeguard
in Oregon, calling the waiting period “discriminatory” in public testimony.
into that legislation reveals that five days apart, representatives from
Compassion and Choices on opposite ends of the country were providing official
testimony to the two state legislatures that appear to contradict one another.
In Augusta, Maine on April 10th Compassion and Choices Field Director Tim Appleton touted the Maine safeguards that were based on Oregon’s law, specifically supporting the proposal’s requirements around safeguards for ensuring the mental capability of a terminally ill patient to make the decision for themselves.
the attending or
consulting physician is
unable to determine
whether the individual
has mental capacity
the request, a
mental health professional
(psychiatrist, psychologist or
licensed clinical social
worker) must evaluate
the individual and
ensure that they
are capable of
making their own
healthcare decisions prior
prescription being written,”
said Appleton, on behalf of Compassion and Choices.
“The qualification process required
under the Act as it is written today, is too long and cumbersome,” said Whitaker. “The
required consultations with the attending and consulting providers and when
necessary, a mental health
provider take time.”
“The mandated waiting period is
discriminatory,” Whitaker told the Oregon Legislature’s Senate Committee
many roadblocks in the existing legislation,” said Ms. Callinan, whose
organization has long promoted the Oregon law. “They’ve actually made it too
difficult for patients to get through the process.”
On July 24th,
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed legislation eliminating the fifteen-day
waiting period for some patients in Oregon.