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Tipsheet

Oregon Ends Residency Requirement for Medically Assisted Suicide

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Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state to use its law that allows terminally ill individuals seeking to end their lives to receive doctor-prescribed lethal medication. This comes after a federal lawsuit claimed the requirement was unconstitutional.

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The New York Times reported that the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Medical Board, and the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office agreed they would no longer enforce the residency requirement, according to the settlement from the lawsuit filed in the Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon.

The lawsuit was brought on by Compassion & Choices, an advocacy organization “dedicated” to “empowering everyone to chart their end-of-life journey,” and expanding access to end-of-life medicine, its website states. 

The Times noted that the group said Oregon’s law “violated the Constitution’s prohibition against states that favor their own residents over noncitizens.” Compassion & Choices sued on behalf of Dr. Nicholas Gideonse, a physician and assistant professor of family medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. 

Gideonse, who supports Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, is “unable to write terminal prescriptions for patients who live in nearby Washington State,” The Times wrote. Gideonse is licensed in Oregon, but not Washington. 

Gideonse told The Times that he feels “very, very good about this resolution” and he was “pleasantly surprised that it occurred so quickly.”

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Oregon Right to Life shared a press release this week slamming the settlement agreement that no longer enforces the state’s residency requirement for medically-assisted suicide.

“We already have a problem with dangerously short physician-patient relationships and the push to eliminate any waiting period for life-ending drugs. We should not be expanding access to lethal prescriptions,” Oregon Right to Life Executive Director Lois Anderson said in a press release. “The residency requirement at least protected some patients from predatory practices going unnoticed in the current execution of the law.” 

“Oregon leadership is continuing to push their controversial agenda without accountability or due diligence on life and death issues,” Anderson added. “Oregon has launched its new industry — death tourism.”

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