Suit Challenges Assisted-Suicide Law in Oregon

From Associated Press

A group of doctors and patients is suing to block Oregon's new law allowing physician-assisted suicide, saying it is unconstitutional and will pressure sick people to end their lives.

The measure narrowly approved by voters Nov. 8 would allow doctors, under certain conditions, to prescribe lethal drugs to patients with less than six months to live. It is to take effect Dec. 8.

"Something needs to be done to protect the patients from this bill," said Dr. Gary Lee, who is suing with another doctor and several disabled or terminally ill patients. "The safeguards are really inadequate. When people become seriously ill, when they are diagnosed with cancer, they become vulnerable to a lot of factors," Lee said. "They may become depressed."

Attorney Thomas Alderman, who filed the federal lawsuit Wednesday in Eugene, said the measure violates the Constitution's equal protection and due process guarantees, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The lawsuit was expected by supporters of the suicide measure.

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