Oregon, the first state in the country to allow physician-assisted suicide, has come up with an ethical conundrum that I hope Washington state is paying attention to as they debate following in Oregon’s grim footsteps. Apparently the Oregon Health Plan has informed a woman fighting lung cancer that they will not pay for her treatments, but “if she chose” they WILL pay for her “doctor-assisted suicide.”
As we have seen in the Netherlands, allowing so called physicians to kill their patients is a very slippery slope. As described by Dr. Herbert Hendin, a professor of psychiatry at New York Medical College and medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: “Over the past two decades, the Netherlands has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia for the terminally ill to euthanasia for the chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for psychological distress and from voluntary euthanasia to non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia.”
Is this really the value we put on human life?