Oregon will no longer require people to be residents of the state to use its law allowing terminally ill people to receive lethal medication, after a lawsuit challenged the requirement as unconstitutional.
In a settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Portland on Monday, the Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Medical Board agreed to stop enforcing the residency requirement and to ask the Legislature to remove it from the law.
Advocates said they would use the settlement to press the eight other states and Washington, D.C., with medically assisted suicide laws to drop their residency requirements as well.
"This requirement was both discriminatory and profoundly unfair to dying patients at the most critical time of their life," said Kevin Diaz, an attorney with Compassion & Choices, the national advocacy group that sued over Oregon's requirement.
Laura Echevarria, a spokeswoman for National Right to Life, which opposes such laws, warned that without a residency requirement, Oregon risked becoming the nation's "assisted suicide tourism capital."