By J. Margaret Datiles
It has been nearly fourteen years since the Oregon Death with Dignity Act was approved by a narrow margin in November 1994. This year, state bills and ballot initiatives attempting to legalize and create a state constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide (PAS) have been introduced, and challenges against state criminal homicide laws prohibiting assisted suicide have been filed. Despite national and international data and studies demonstrating the dangers that assisted suicide poses to the sick, disabled and elderly, assisted suicide proponents continue to press forward with efforts to spread the practice beyond the borders of Oregon. The medical community has come out against the PAS, but advocates have ignored its advice and recommendations. Meanwhile, disability groups and civil rights organizations consistently oppose the spread of assisted suicide. Although physician-assisted suicide is currently allowed only in the state of Oregon, legalization of the practice has emerged as an area of renewed interest.