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Dr. Coburn Troubled by U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Oregon's Physician-Assisted Suicide Law

Location: Washington, DC

Dr. Coburn Troubled by U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Uphold Oregon's Physician-Assisted Suicide Law

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), a practicing physician, today released the following statement in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Oregon's physician-assisted suicide law.

"Nowhere does our Constitution give doctors the right to take the lives of their patients. Deliberately causing death is never a legitimate medical purpose. By creating another class of human beings whose lives have no value, the Supreme Court has put all vulnerable persons at risk," Dr. Coburn said.

"In countries where euthanasia has been legalized, granting doctors the god-like power to decide at what point life has value and when it does not has led to the killing of babies, the elderly, depressed, and handicapped. I'm disturbed that the Supreme Court took our nation farther down that dark road today," Dr. Coburn said.

In the Netherlands, where euthanasia has been legalized, at least 1,000 patients are killed every year without their consent according to two studies conducted by Dutch researchers over a 10-year period. (Sources: The Lancet British medical journal - Van der Maas PJ et al.: Euthanasia and other medical decisions concerning the end of life. Lancet 1991; 338: 669-74. Onwuteaka-Philipsen BJ et al.: Euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions in the Netherlands in 1990, 1995, and 2001. Lancet online 17 June 2003.)

The Lancet also reported in 1997 that 8 percent of all Dutch infant deaths result from lethal injections. Additionally, the survey found that 45 percent of neonatologists and 31 percent of pediatricians had killed babies who were handicapped and did not have "livable lives."


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