Oregon Legislature Seeks to Expand Assisted Suicide Law

Oregon Legislature Seeks to Expand Assisted Suicide Law

House Bill 2217, which will effectively legalize euthanasia, is scheduled for a public hearing in the Oregon Legislature’s House Health Care Committee on Tuesday, March 19.

Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 1997. Since then, 1,459 patients have taken the lethal medication to end their lives. Currently, there are several reasons patients claim as their reason for requesting assisted suicide. According to deathwithdignity.org, “The most frequently reported end-of-life concerns were loss of autonomy (91.7%), decreasing ability to participate in activities that made life enjoyable (90.5%), and loss of dignity (66.7%). During 2018, the estimated rate of deaths under the law was 45.9 per 10,000 total deaths in the state.”

Under the current law, patients must physically ingest medication by themselves. When requesting life-ending medication, patients must sign a form stating “I expect to die when I take the medication to be prescribed.”

However, Oregon lawmakers are seeking to expand the scope of this bill by changing the definition of  “taking” to “self-administer.” As defined by HB 2217, “self-administer” means “a qualified patient’s physical act of ingesting or delivering by another method medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.”

Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, stated, “There is no safety mechanism in place to ensure that another person isn’t the one administering the medication. By adding ‘delivering by another method’ they are redefining the law to allow the drugs to be administered through an IV, feeding tube, injection, or even through a gas mask. And, potentially, by a person other than the patient.”

The proposed changes appear to contradict the intention of Oregonians when they narrowly legalized assisted suicide. When voters approved Measure 16 in 1994 it explicitly stated, “This measure does not authorize lethal injection, mercy killing or active euthanasia.”

HB 2217 would effectively legalize euthanasia in Oregon by involving more people in the deaths of vulnerable Oregonians.

Oregonians will be gathering in protest of HB 2217 at the hearing on Tuesday, March 19th. For more details or to contact committee members in opposition, please go to  https://www.ortl.org/noeuthanasia/.

Non-profit camp welcomes youth affected by autism

Non-profit camp welcomes youth affected by autism

Like many other summer camps, Oregon’s Camp Odakoda features a swimming hole, a fire pit, and canoes. The camp’s culture, however, is unique.

“Here, no one judges you, not even a tiny bit,” explains Zander Cloud, a 16-year-old camper. “There can be people who you have the same common interests with, and it just makes you feel connected in some way, and more involved than you would sometimes do in school.”

Zander is one of 85 young adults affected by autism spectrum disorder who gathered at Camp Odakoda for a week of fun and fellowship. The camp is the only facility in the Pacific Northwest which caters specifically to youth on the autism spectrum.

Misti and Ian Moxley founded the camp in 2010 to provide more opportunities for their autistic son. “That’s what we were looking for is–where can we take our son where he can find friends that really get him, and he can understand that maybe he’s different, but he’s not less important, that he’s not less of a person, that he just has to find his people,” Misti told KATU news.

Camp Odakoda staff members work to connect campers who have similar interests. Two kids who both enjoy fishing, for example, may share a room.

The camp strives to create a stress-free environment for all youth by maintaining a high counselor-to-camper ratio, and by eliminating surprises from the daily schedule. Camp staff also enforce a no-tolerance policy with regard to teasing.

“They do not tolerate bullies at all here, so you can be whoever you want to be,” explains 14-year-old Alex Witzens. “It’s really important, ’cause I’ve been bullied a lot and it’s nice to go somewhere, for one week you won’t be bullied and you can just let loose, have fun and be yourself.”

Staff member Jonathan Chase understands the challenges faced by young adults such as Alex. Jonathan himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at age 14. “We didn’t have camps like this when I was growing up,” he told KATU. “When I became an adult, I looked back and I thought how different it would’ve been if there was somebody there who understood me, who is standing up for people who are different.”

Now, Jonathan helps teens enjoy the relationships he lacked as a child. Youth at Camp Odakoda look up to Jonathan, who has successfully navigated the transition to adulthood, and lives independently. Zander and Alex plan to follow in his footsteps by becoming camp counselors after graduation: “you get to help people and you can be really friendly,” Zander explains.

Jonathan sums up his message to youth affected by autism. “I’m here as a reminder for the kids and for the adults that where we start isn’t where we finish,” he says. “Autism isn’t a ceiling, it’s just a hurdle.”

 

Oregon ballot will include initiative to ban state-funded abortions

Oregon ballot will include initiative to ban state-funded abortions

A proposal to ban state-funded abortions via a state constitutional amendment will appear on Oregon’s ballot this fall, reports The Oregonian. According to state election workers, supporters of the proposal submitted 117,799 valid signatures. Initiatives which involve a constitutional amendment require at least 117,578 signatures to appear on the ballot.

Marylin Shannon, a chief petitioner for the taxpayer-funded abortion ban, clarified the proposal’s impact on abortion providers in Oregon. “We’re hoping we’ll win on the issue,” Shannon stated. “What we really want people to know is that this measure will not outlaw abortion in Oregon. It only stops the public funding of it.”

Nevertheless, pro-abortion groups have described the measure in sweeping terms. “The right to health care is the foundation of freedom and opportunity for women and their families,” said Grayson Dempsey, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon, an abortion rights group.

The state-funded abortion ban will likely appear on Oregon’s ballot as Measure 106. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon has joined NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon in an effort to rally public employee unions against Measure 106. Public employee union workers receive health insurance plans which use tax dollars to cover abortions.

However, pro-abortion big money groups may struggle to defeat Measure 106, which enjoys considerable grassroots support, according to Jeff Jimmerson, the initiative’s chief sponsor. “It’s been a truly monumental effort, lasting six-plus years [and] thousands of volunteers,” Jimmerson stated.

The dedication of activists like Jimmerson brings Oregon’s pro-life community one step closer to implementing constitutional protections for unborn children in the state.

 

Oregon Continues to Challenge Mental Health Stigma

Oregon Continues to Challenge Mental Health Stigma

Multnomah County has been taking multiple measures this past year to challenge the stigma of mental health, and they recently introduced a new initiative that will involve TriMet.

Ads will be placed on the backs of buses, on benches, and at bus stops to share the stories of those struggling with mental illnesses. Leticia Sainz, in an interview with KATU2, explained their reasoning for sharing stories rather than statistics and facts. “Storytelling and stories is the way to change people’s hearts and minds around stigma. . . Our goal is to really tell just a small story about people in our community who have mental health challenges. These are people we all know and love, come from different walks of life.”

While not real people are used in the advertisements, the program made sure to pick images that would relate to the majority of diverse communities in Multnomah County, whether it is different ethnicities, ages, or gender.

Sainz concluded by stating, “We definitely hope that people get another insight into the people around them in our community and how prevalent it is to have people who are struggling with mental health concerns. . .That’s the story we’re telling because that’s the story of mental health in our community.”

Ads are already appearing on the back of buses and more will be revealed in the upcoming months.

Newest attraction in Oregon: Golf with a Goat Caddie

Newest attraction in Oregon: Golf with a Goat Caddie

Golf Goat CaddiesOregon is known for its ways of making ordinary actions completely unique in a way only the hipster philosophy can achieve. Multiple of these oddities have included goats in the past, including goat yoga, and a new one can be added to this list: Goat Caddies.

This new form of golf resides in Seneca, Oregon on the Silvies Valley Ranch, which is a goat and cattle farm that includes a spa and three golf courses. The owner of the ranch, Tygh Campbell, birthed the idea, and his co-founder, Akbar Chisti, in an interview with the Oregonian, explained how they made this idea a reality.

Creating the golf bags specifically designed for the goats was a difficulty since “golf bags aren’t made to go on goats,” but trial-and-error eventually lead to a successful bag that not only included space for the clubs but also a six-pack of beer and a bag of peanuts for the goat.

As of now, they have trained four goats to act as caddies and plan on training more in the future. The McVeigh’s Gauntlet Course will open on July 10th to the public interested in golfing with goat caddies.