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Posted on January 19, 2019 at 1:55 PM

When enacting statutes that affirmatively authorize medical aid in dying (MAID), U.S. states have been closely following the Oregon model for over a decade. That model includes both narrow eligibility conditions and overly restrictive non-evidence-based safeguards.

But, as in Canada, the U.S. trend now seems to be toward expanding access. I recently blogged about pending New Mexico legislation that reduces the waiting period, expands the types of qualified clinicians, and eliminates extra visits.

Other states are also looking to expand access. For example, for over 20 years, Oregon itself has required that the patient have an incurable and irreversible disease that will, within reasonable medical judgment, “produce death within six months.” But pending legislation would change that strict temporal period to “produce or substantially contribute to
a patient’s death.”

Obviously, right-to-life advocates are not happy about this. But expanding access in these ways protects patient liberty with no plausible risk to patient safety.

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