Wyden Vows To Block Any Attempt To Overturn Oregon’s Physician-Assisted Suicide Law
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Wednesday said he would place a "blanket hold" for the year on any legislation that might try to overturn an Oregon law allowing physician-assisted suicide, CQ HealthBeat reports (CQ HealthBeat, 1/18).
The Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 6-3 to uphold the Oregon Death With Dignity Act in the case Gonzales v. Oregon, ruling that former Attorney General John Ashcroft overstepped his authority in seeking to punish doctors who prescribed drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives (California Healthline, 1/18).
Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said they will push for legislation to overturn the law. Wyden said putting a blanket hold on such legislation would allow a "thorough review" of the bill before it could be considered by the Senate, according to CQ HealthBeat.
Wyden noted that it would be a "tough job" to successfully filibuster any such legislation, which he did in 2000. However, he added that some conservative senators recently said they believe Congress should not have intervened in the Terry Schiavo case, in which a Florida woman in a persistent vegetative state was kept alive by a feeding tube. Wyden said, "I think the Schiavo case opened some eyes to the proposition that individuals and families should be deciding these cases" (CQ HealthBeat, 1/18).