SB 579 passed the House 35-22. It will now head to the governor to become law.
Senate Bill 579 removes the requirement that a near-death patient wait 15 days before killing themselves by legal assisted suicide. This bill will also allow someone with malicious intent to pressure a dying person to request, receive and take deadly drugs on the same day, rather than consider other options.
Senate Bill 579 creates a dangerous loophole in Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law. The bill removes waiting periods in the law designed to prevent abuse, same day suicides and protect vulnerable Oregonians from being coerced into ending their lives.SB 579 makes it easier for bad actors to continue to harm the elderly, which is already a significant problem in Oregon. In 2016 alone, there were almost 4,000 reported victims of elder abuse.
Removing the waiting periods will facilitate on-demand, same day assisted suicide and will not protect patients from coercion. Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law already lacks effective protections to prevent someone from administering a prescription to a patient illegally. If a patient has a suicide prescription and ends up dead, the assumption will be that they took it. SB 579 allows someone with malicious intent to pressure a person to request, receive and take the lethal drugs on the same day.
For more information you can download our fact sheet on SB 579.