By John-Henry Westen and John Connolly

EUGENE, Oregon, April 7, 2008 ( – Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave an interview with the editor of Eugene’s Register-Guard paper, Jack Wilson, on April 6, in which she praised Oregon’s assisted suicide laws.

Clinton, who spoke in Eugene on the same day as leading conservative bioethicist Wesley J. Smith, commended Oregon for providing the “right” to assisted suicide.

“I believe it’s within the province of the states to make that decision,” said Clinton when asked by Wilson about her attitude toward assisted suicide. “I commend Oregon on this count, as well, because whether I agree with it or not or think it’s a good idea or not, the fact that Oregon is breaking new ground and providing valuable information as to what does and doesn’t work when it comes to end-of-life questions, I think, is very beneficial.”

When asked if she would have voted for the assisted suicide law, Clinton said she did not know, but added that the “right” to assisted suicide was appropriate, so long as there was enough information made available and safeguards put in place.
“I have a great deal of sympathy for people who are in difficult end-of-life situations,” asserted Clinton. “I’ve gone to friends who have been in great pain and suffering at the end of their lives. I’ve never been personally confronted with it but I know it’s a terribly difficult decision that should never be forced upon anyone. So with appropriate safeguards and informed decision-making, I think it’s an appropriate right to have.”

Prominent conservative bioethicist and assisted suicide opponent Wesley Smith, however, told that he was in Eugene, Oregon speaking on the same day as Clinton. “For some reason she made the front page of the Register Guard instead of me,” he said wryly.

“During the Q and A session, she was asked about Oregon’s assisted suicide law and gave quite the Clintonesque support for transforming suicide into a medical treatment.

“Whether she agrees with it or not, people without serious symptoms have been prescribed lethal drugs to kill them,” said Smith. “Last year no patients requesting assisted suicide were referred to mental health professionals, few patients died with doctors at their side, and the number of assisted suicides went up.”

Oregon’s latest assisted suicide report shows that 85 lethal doses of drugs were prescribed last year. Since 1997, 341 patients have been reported to die from assisted suicide in Oregon.

“Meanwhile, a few years ago,” continued Smith, “Michael Freeland was prescribed a deadly dose two years before dying, and after he became psychotic was abandoned by his psychiatrist who permitted his prescription to remain ‘safely at home.’ (see:  Kate Cheney, an Alzheimer’s and cancer patient received a lethal prescription even though a psychiatrist found that it was her daughter who had the real assisted suicide desire. (see:

“At least the questioner called it by its right term (suicide) instead of the gooey euphemism of ‘aid in dying.’”

See Clinton’s full interview here:


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