In yesterday’s post we forgot to say that the Oregon physician who testified against the bill, Charles Bentz, told the committee that since Oregon legalized assisted suicide, his office constantly gets calls from patients asking whether its doctors write the lethal prescriptions. These are not from people wanting the poison. Those normally call the advocacy group Compassion and Choices, which, according to its representative George Eighmey, who also testified yesterday, helps people fill out the request forms and find doctors to write the prescriptions; according to Dr. Bentz, Compassion and Choices’ “help with the paperwork” also includes filling out the reporting forms which doctors (most of them Compassion and Choices members) then submit to the Oregon Public Health Authority, which uses them in compiling its annual report on assisted suicides in the state. The patients who typically call Dr. Bentz’s office are seeking a doctor who will NOT participate in assisted suicide. True Dignity members also want doctors who will NOT participate in assisted suicide. We’d rather not have to search for them. The best way to insure that we won’t is to keep assisted suicide illegal in Vermont.
We’ll wait until tomorrow to report on today’s joint hearing. As we expected, it was a long day.