The Oregon Public Health Division released a report on Feb. 4 that said 132 Oregonians had participated in physician-assisted suicide in 2015, which is the most since the state passed its Death with Dignity Act in 1997.
The report found that 78 percent of the those who chose to end their lives were 65 years old or older, while the median age of death was 73.
According to the report, 72 percent of the deceased had cancer, 6.1 percent had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and 6.8 percent had heart disease.
Doctors wrote 218 prescriptions for lethal medications, but 50 of those who received prescriptions chose not to use them and died of natural causes, while 43 patients' status regarding ingestion of the medications was unknown at the time of the report.
Oregon's Death with Dignity Act only allows people who are terminally ill to end their lives with medication prescribed by a physician. However, pro-life advocates were upset that 132 terminally ill people chose to end their lives.
In an op-ed for LifeNews.com, Wesley J. Smith, of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, called The State of Oregon's report "[p]hony-baloney since they rely almost exclusively on doctor self reporting, and the Oregon death bureaucrats have no budget or legal authority to conduct independent investigations if they obtain information of 'abuses.'"
According to the Oregon Health Authority website: "After the patient has died, the death certificate will be matched with their Death with Dignity forms or copies of the medical record and then reviewed by Oregon Health Authority staff. We then contact the physician and ask him/her to confirm whether their patient died from a lethal prescription or from their terminal illness."
"If much of the nation succumbs to assisted suicide advocacy and the numbers keep climbing consistently as is the usual pattern wherever assisted suicide/euthanasia are legalized — it would not be long before tens of thousands of people died by lethal prescription or injection, each year," Smith added. "If that doesn’t disturb you, you are part of the culture of death."
CitizenLink, the political arm of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family, recently wrote on its website: "Many states are facing a push for legalization of doctor-prescribed suicide and CitizenLink is working with our alliance of state-based policy groups to promote the sanctity of human life at all stages."
CitizenLink has strongly opposed Obamacare, which provides healthcare to more than 16 million Americans.