How to Die in Oregon

Physician-assisted suicide documentary How to Die in Oregon comes down almost solidly on the side of legalized euthanasia. A man with advancing ALS decides to self-terminate before his mobility problems get to be too much. A woman with cancer decides to kill herself so that her end would be tidy, with no messy emotions or bodily fluids.

The only dissenting voice comes from a cancer patient who was denied a second round of chemotherapy on the grounds that it would not be cost-effective, and offered the option of physician-assisted suicide instead. Trembling with anger, he denounced the writer of the chilling letter that pronounced his death sentence, and was granted his second chance at chemo. But the incident illustrates what disability activists fear most about physician-assisted suicide; that those who want a chance at living with a disabling or chronic condition, or living as long as possible with a terminal condition, will not be offered treatment or services because of the cost. In the eyes of the state, the right to die will eventually become the duty to die.


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