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Death with dignity California woman travels to Oregon for physician-assisted suicide

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By Alexis Miano

Euthanasia is the painless killing of someone suffering from a painful, incurable or terminal disease. Physician- assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont, as long as it follows provisions set by the respective state’s Death With Dignity Act. Physician-assisted suicide involves the doctor giving the patient a lethal dosage of a drug to take at their leisure.  However, in most states in the U.S. suicide is against the law, considered a form of homicide.

This issue has gained considerable attention in the news media recently due to Brittany Maynard, 29,  who relocated to Oregon from California to take advantage of the state’s Death With Dignity law after learning that she had Stage 4 brain cancer. She obtained her prescription in October, and plans to die Nov. 1.

There are many reasons why a terminally-ill patient would want to go through with euthanasia, including excessive pain and burdening their friends and family. The decision to end a life prematurely is a difficult one, but it doesn’t come without a careful process. In order to qualify, one has to be terminally ill and have six months or less to live. Aside from having to be at least 18 and a resident of one of the states where physician-assisted suicide is legal, the patient is required to make an oral request to his/her doctor twice within a 15-day waiting period, followed by a written request and a 48-hour wait for a prescription. This process allows time to make sure the patient is certain about their decision.

The Dolphin asked students on campus for their opinion on this. One Delgado accounting major doesn’t think there should be a problem with a terminally- ill person deciding to end their own life. He still views it as suicide, but more reasoned and acceptable than the decision is usually perceived. Ty, a general studies major, says that he doesn’t think he would consider physician-assisted suicide. Kala Jekin, a nursing major, says that no one should ever have to die in pain and agrees with Death With Dignity laws.

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