Oregon will ditch residency requirement for medically assisted suicide

The Associated Press reported that Oregon will stop requiring terminally ill people to be state residents in order to obtain deadly medication to end their own lives.

A lawsuit targeted the residency requirement, according to the outlet, which reported that a settlement was filed in which the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board consented to cease enforcing the requirement and to ask the state legislature to nix the requirement from the law.

“This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life,” Kevin Diaz said, according to the AP, which noted that Diaz is an attorney with Compassion & Choices, the organization that sued on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Gideonse.

“Any restriction on medical aid in dying that doesn’t serve a specific medical purpose is difficult,” Gideonse said, according to the outlet. “In no other way is my practice restricted to Oregon residents, whether that’s delivering babies in the past or other care that I provide.”

But on the other side of the debate, National Right to Life spokesperson Laura Echevarria has warned that in the absence of a residency requirement the state could turn into America’s “assisted suicide tourism capital.”

According to an official state website, “The Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) is a permissive law that allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives through the voluntary self-administration of a lethal dose of medication, expressly prescribed by a physician for that purpose.”

Alex Nitzberg