The state that was the first to legalize physician-assisted suicide now may be traveling down the road to outright euthanasia of its residents.
Oregon put into effect its doctor-assisted suicide law in 1997, making it the first state in the United States to legalize the act. Now, the state's lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand current law to allow others to kill the person intravenously, through injection, or through a gas mask.
Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver tells OneNewsNow it's a dangerous bill.
"It actually results in the cheapening of human life," the attorney argues, "and ultimately what you'll see is medical professionals deciding on their own to end the life of an elderly or a disabled or a sick individual even though they provide no consent."
House Bill 2217 goes further than any assisted suicide law in this country and for all practical purposes, according to Staver, legalizes euthanasia, which is done by one person causing the death of another, usually by lethal injection.
"It will not provide any protections for individuals who frankly don't want to commit suicide, [who] don't want to end their lives," he tells OneNewsNow, "but … no doubt, I believe and predict unfortunately, some will become victims of this law if it passes."
Should the measure become law, a doctor could decide a person's life isn't worth living, or a relative who stands to benefit from an individual's death could administer the lethal dose and take a family member's life. If so, Oregon would be taking the path of European countries that have progressively reached that point.
Alex Schadenberg with the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition puts it more succinctly: "If HB 2217 becomes law, it will create an exception for homicide under the assisted suicide act."