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Along with the American right to live with certain inalienable freedoms, citizens of Oregon have had the opportunity to exercise their state-given “right to die” for the previous 17 years. In response to citizen initiative, the State of Oregon passed the Death With Dignity Act (DWDA) in 1994 to allow terminally ill patients the access to a lethal dose of doctor-prescribed medication. Oregon is one of only two U.S. states with “Death With Dignity” legislation, and it has vigorously protected this act from criticism and attempted legal invalidation for years (Office of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, n.d.). Despite vehement opposition and regular ethical questioning, DWDA has successfully allowed hundreds of gravely ill Oregon citizens to safely control the circumstances of their death. With improvements to its system of collecting patient data, its mental health evaluation requirements, and its level of doctor accountability, the law could provide this service in an even more efficient and responsible way.
From its official enactment in 1997, DWDA has aimed to provide qualified,…
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