ERGO logo
Laws Concerning Oregon

Trail to Oregon's physican-assisted suicide law Oregon Death with Dignity Act on State of Oregon website Supreme Court Ruling (1995) - Vacco vs. Quill Supreme Court Ruling (1996) - Washington vs. Glucksberg

The Physician Assisted Suicide Oregon Trail

  1. Hemlock Society of Oregon started 1987 by Derek Humphry. A nonprofit educational organization. (National Hemlock founded 1980)

  2. Oregon Senate Bill 1141, introduced in 1991 by Senator Frank Roberts (D-Portland), and sponsored by Hemlock, died in committee in the Oregon Legislature. It would have allowed physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill. This rejection at the legislative level motivated the founding of a political action committee, Oregon Right to Die (1993) dedicated exclusively to getting a law passed by citizens' ballot initiative.

  3. Ballot Measure 16, November 4, 1994

  4. Result of Yes vote: Legalizes doctor-assisted suicide
    Result of No vote: Legislation fails.

    Votes Campaign expenditures
    Yes 51 percent 627,980 $600,000
    No49 percent596,018$1,500,000

    Voter turnout: 57 percent (1,223,998 voters)

    (Due to court challenges, the Death With Dignity Act was not implemented until October 27, 1997.)

  5. Declining to either amend or repeal the Act, the Oregon Legislature on June 9, 1997, returned it to the electorate for a second vote.

  6. Ballot Measure 51, November 4, 1997

  7. Result of Yes Vote: Repeals doctor-assisted suicide law
    Result of No vote: Retains doctor-assisted suicide law

    Votes Campaign expenditures
    No60 percent 666,275$966,000
    Yes40 percent 445,830 $4,077,882

    Voter turnout 59.69 percent (1,108,052) of 1,888,976 registered voters.

  8. In March, 1998, two people who were terminally ill became the first ones to get physician-assisted suicide under the terms of the Death With Dignity Act, 1994.