WASHINGTON (RSN) Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has said he will try to block a federal bill that would override Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law.
Wyden said Tuesday he has placed a hold on the Assisted Suicide Prevention Act, introduced by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. The bill would prohibit doctors from prescribing drugs for assisted suicide. A hold requires 60 votes to break.
In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Wyden said Oregonians twice voted to allow the option of physician-assisted suicide.
“The government ought not attempt to override or pre-empt the individual and the family values, religious beliefs and wishes,” Wyden said.
Brownback, who held a hearing on the issue in May, has said he does not expect the bill to become law this year.
“When the law permits killing as a medical ‘treatment,’ society’s moral guidelines are blurred, and killing could gain acceptance as a solution for the chronically ill or vulnerable,” Brownback said in a written statement last month when he announced the bill.
Oregon is the only state that has legalized physician-assisted suicide. The state’s Death With Dignity Act allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses to terminally ill patients. The Bush administration has argued that the practice violates federal anti-drug law. But in a 6-3 vote in January, the Supreme Court upheld Oregon’s law.