Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Oregon Experience is B.S.

The claim by assisted suicide proponents, that Oregon's law is safe, cannot be independently verified because: (1) Studies making the claim are invalid; (2) Oregon's data cannot be verified; and (3) Even law enforcement is denied access to information.

1. Any Studies Claiming That Oregon’s Law is Safe, are Invalid

During a Montana legislative hearing in 2011, State Senator Jeff Essmann made the following observation about Oregon’s law, that any study claiming that it’s safe is invalid. He observed:

[All] the protections end after the prescription is written.  [The proponents] admitted that the provisions in the Oregon law would permit one person to be alone in that room with the patient.  And in that situation, there is no guarantee that that medication is [taken on a voluntary basis].
So frankly, any of the studies that come out of the state of Oregon’s experience are invalid because no one who administers that drug . . . to that patient is going to be turning themselves in for the commission of a homicide.  (Emphasis added).[1]
2. Oregon’s Data Cannot be Verified

The State of Oregon (the Oregon Health Authority) publishes annual statistical reports about the people who died under Oregon’s law.[2] Much of this data cannot be verified due to a lack of record keeping and the destruction of source documentation.  According to the Oregon Health Authority:

The identity of participating physicians is coded, but the identity of individual patients is not recorded in any manner.  Approximately one year from the publication of the Annual Report, all source documentation is destroyed.  (Emphasis added).[3]
3.  Even Law Enforcement is Denied Access to Information 

In Oregon, even law enforcement is denied access to information about cases under Oregon’s law. Alicia Parkman, Mortality Specialist for the Oregon Health Authority, states:

We have been contacted by law enforcement and legal representatives in the past, but have not provided identifying information of any type.  (Emphasis added).[4] 

[1]  Hearing Transcript for the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee on SB 167, February 10, 2011, at
[2]  See Oregon's annual statistical report for 2015, attached to the declaration of William Toffler MD, which can be viewed at this link:
[3]  Oregon Health Authority, “Frequently Asked Questions,” page 2, available at
[4]  E-mail from Alicia Parkman, Mortality Research Analyst, Oregon Health Authority, to Margaret Dore, January 4, 2012, available at