January 17, 2006

Wyden Praises Supreme Court Decision Upholding Oregon's Physician Aid in Dying Law

Oregon voters have twice approved the Death with Dignity upheld today;Senator joined House colleagues in filing amicus brief with the Court earlier this year

Washington, DC - U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) praised the 6-3 decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court today upholding Oregon's twice-approved physician aid in dying law. Last year, Wyden, along with U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.) and David Wu (D-Ore.) filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court opposing efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice to overturn Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, enacted by the state in 1997. In that brief they maintained that former Attorney General John Ashcroft used the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) incorrectly to bring the Justice Department's case and threaten Oregon physicians who follow the Oregon law. Today's decision means that Oregon's Death with Dignity Act will not be overturned and will continue to be public law in the state. "Today's decision by the Supreme Court is a significant victory for Oregon's voters," said Wyden. "The Court's decision has stopped, for now, the Administration's attempts to wrest control of decisions rightfully left to the states and individuals. I will fight tooth and nail any Congressional attempts to overturn this court ruling." The CSA is aimed at stopping trafficking of illegal drugs and does not afford the Attorney General power to punish physicians who follow the Oregon law. Wyden has promised to work to defeat legislative efforts to change the CSA for the purpose of subverting Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. To read the full text of the amicus brief filed earlier this year click here.