Debate Magazine

Oregon Bans Hand-made Suicide Kit

Posted on the 13 May 2011 by Technocowgirl @TechnoCowgirl

A Ziploc plastic bag.

Image via Wikipedia

Bans Suicide Kit: Soon to be Felony


On May 12, watching the news on
Oregon’s Fox 12, something caught this writer’s ear; a state that boasts about
their “Death with Dignity Act” (assisted suicide law), is quite upset about a
suicide kit. In fact, the state is now lobbying to make the sell and purchase of
this kit a felony; this is sure to upset the 91-year-old grandmother that makes
the kits by hand. That is right, The Glad Group that sells these mail order
kits is run by a feisty 91-year-old woman who calls herself “the bag lady”; she
has even put up an informational video to show the purchaser how to correctly
use the kit. The only criterion for eligibility is $50, making ‘the bag lady’ a
cool $100,000 a year; though, she claims not to be selling death (Fox News 12,
2011.personally watched on May 12).

The sharp-tongued old woman proudly
stated to Nicole Doll, an anchor for Fox 12, “If people think that I am going
to hell, then they can go to hell”! Oregon argues that the suicide kit is being
sold to young mentally ill people, with a death count of eight thus far. It
seems people do not think much of the method of the kit; it cannot be the fact
of the assisted suicide theory. “On October 27, 1997, Oregon enacted the Death
with Dignity Act which allows terminally ill Oregonians to end their lives
through the voluntary self-administration of lethal medications, expressly
prescriptions by a physician for that purpose” (Oregon Health, 2011). Does
there seem to be a double standard on this issue? Is their reservation about
the kit due to the stigma, not clinical enough? On the other hand, is it the
money? Suicide is very hard to comprehend if a person has never considered it;
some believe it to be a coward’s way.

However, this is not necessarily so,
many people endure difficult situations day in and day out, making the choice
seem more feasible. A person with mental illness does not think and decide as
normal thinking people do; this puts them at higher risk for suicidal thoughts
and behavior. Oregon’s law is meant for the terminally ill that wants to die
sooner than later; there are strict requirements to obtain ‘permission’ from
the state to kill oneself- and a fee. One has to wonder just how ethical either
scenario is, after all, both involve suicide. Is Oregon ‘the pot calling the
kettle back’ in this issue?


Fox News Channel 12 Oregon. (2011, May 12). 10 o’clock news.

Oregon Health. (2011, May 12). Death with dignity act.

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