Running for president, Sam Brownback attacks Oregon law

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) held a hearing this week on assisted suicide - and attacked Oregon's death-with-dignity law.

He doesn't have any legislation, or any oversight demands, so it's pretty clear that he's using it to raise his presidential profile. From the AP:

Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who is considering a run for president, called the hearing to explore what he called the ``unintended consequences and slippery slope of doctor-assisted suicide.''

Brownback, who opposes assisted suicide, said he does not expect to introduce legislation this year, but is concerned that the Supreme Court ruling undermines ``the culture of life'' in the United States. ...

Brownback said he was concerned about the message the Oregon law sends and the possible consequences as assisted suicide becomes more and more accepted.

As always, Senator Ron Wyden was on hand to defend Oregon's law:

``While I do not know how I would vote if the issue were to appear on the Oregon ballot once more, I believe it is time for me to acknowledge that my fears concerning the poor elderly were, thankfully, never realized,'' Wyden said. ``The law has not been abused.'' ...

Wyden, as he has in the past, vowed to block any attempt by Brownback or any other lawmaker to repeal the Oregon law.


  • Phil Jones (unverified)

    Perhaps Sen. Brownback will reconsider his position once he is diagnosed with a terminal, debilitating disease.

  • Frank (unverified)

    Are any other states looking at assisted suicide to incorporate into law?

  • Ron (unverified)

    What ever happened to devolution and state's rights? I love how pandering hyporcrites like Brownback pick and choose the issues that they want to stick to their principles on. And don't tell me about "culture of life" overriding the states as a laboratory of democracy, this guy voted for and still supports an illegal and immoral war that has killed more than 100,000 people. What an asshole.

  • Paul Johnson (unverified)

    Let's just get the Oregon Territory to declare independence, or insist that the Vote at Champoeg be honored and cede us to Canada so we don't have to deal with American twits like this in the future.

  • Cicolini (unverified)

    Several states have looked closely at Oregon's assisted dying law, including a serious proposal before the California state Senate which appears to have drawn only the same kooky and limited opposition Brownback mustered in DC last week. Washington State is also queuing up to look at the success Oregon has experienced, perhaps backed by former Gov Booth Gardner.


    Quiz time - who was the first governor to call for an assisted dying law?

  • (Show?)

    This is just another example of a right wing nut pushing their moral beliefs on others. I agree though, it appears Brownback is just trying to get a little attention to see if he has the support to run. I don't know think many people know who he is however so I'd say he's just having a diaherrea of the mouth moment.

    As for the first governor to call for the assisted suicide law, my guess is Barbara Roberts.

  • Cicolini (unverified)

    Gov. Roberts has been a long time supporter of assisted dying, even visiting Sacramento recently to talk with state legislators, but she's not the one!

    Try again.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)

    What's the matter with Kansas?

  • theanalyst (unverified)

    The problem with the "slippery slope" and "unintended consequence" arguments is that these things have simply not occurred. The State has a web site on PAS, and publishes an annual report on the results of the program:

    As you can see in the report, only about 1 in every 800 deaths in Oregon results from PAS. But a much higher number of terminal patients discuss PAS with their physicians, and more people get lethal prescriptions than actually use them.

    The upshot is that many terminally ill people like the idea of having the option, even if very few of them will actually use it.

    People such as Brownback don't really care about PAS that much. They only care about it inasmuch as it can be used as a campaign tool. Look what happened in the Terri Schiavo case. The right wing was up in arms over that, talking about the "culture of death," euthanasia, murder of the handicapped, and so on.

    But look what happened since then. Virtually everything that happened in the Schiavo case was controlled by Florida law. And since the Schiavo case there has not be ONE single change to Florida law. So I have had the interesting experience of having right-wing Christian acquaintences in Florida still denouncing the Schiavo decision, even as THEIR OWN STATE continues on with the very same laws that governed in the Schiavo case.

  • Chris Snethen (unverified)

    These are the same folks who's current line of post-Roe reasoning says the Supreme Court will turn the issues back to the states to decide. Prehaps Sen. Brownback and his ilk can explain why it's alright for abortion to be decided on a state-by-state basis and not assisted suicide.

  • cicolini (unverified)

    Okay, I'll give it to you. It was Tom McCall at the 1972 Dorchester Conference.

    AND - when you progs use the term "suicide" to describe the DWDA, you assist the opponents of the law by mischaracterizing it. Words have powers - and the words used to describe Oregon's assisted dying law are specifically defined in the statute.

    127.880 §3.14. Construction of Act. Nothing in ORS 127.800 to 127.897 shall be construed to authorize a physician or any other person to end a patient’s life by lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia. Actions taken in accordance with ORS 127.800 to 127.897 shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide, under the law. [1995 c.3 §3.14]

  • Levon (unverified)

    If Brownback were to become president, death with dignity would be a logical decision for most intelligent Americans.

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)
    <h2>Brownback? F@#k that guy.</h2>
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