Gov. Tina Kotek on Thursday signed into law an updated version of Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act. The original act, affirmed by voters in 1997, was the first in the nation to allow doctors to provide medical aid in dying to terminally ill patients. To qualify, patients had to be Oregon residents. The new version waives the residency requirement.
In 2022, 278 people died by ingesting medications prescribed under Oregon’s medical aid in dying law, according to the Oregon Health Authority. That represents about 0.6% of deaths in Oregon that year. The large majority of people who access the lethal prescriptions — 85% — are 65 or older. All are terminally ill.
Under the new version of the law, Oregon doctors can prescribe medical aid in dying prescriptions to people who come to Oregon from other states. Advocates for the law recommend that people wishing to access medical aid in dying consider ingesting the lethal dose here rather than returning to a state that does not have a death with dignity law.