These Two Doctors Debated about Assisted Suicide

Brenna Lewis - 16 Mar 2020


Earlier this month, students and community members in Oregon attended a Physician Assisted Suicide debate at Chemeketa Community College. Group members chose to host this debate due to recent attempts by lawmakers to expand practices within the state. This “Life and Death Debate” featured Dr. William Toffler, a physician opposed to all unnatural terminations of life. The opposing Physician, Dr. Peter Reagan, is a retired family physician who argued in favor of physician-assisted suicide. 

Beginning in January of this year, Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act was expanded to remove the 15 day waiting period required between two oral requests of the patient if life expectancy of the patient is less than the waiting period. (1) The act currently applies to patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and who is capable of making medical decisions in their current state of mind. The drugs used are said to allow the patient to die “peacefully” but are known to cause distress and pain as it ends life. Since 1998, when the act was passed, over 1100 citizens in Oregon have died from Physician Assisted Suicide. (2) 

For More information on Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, click here. 

Despite the heaviness of the topic, the debate itself was civil, friendly, and effective. Many people expressed their appreciation for the civility between the two doctors. Some professors even offered extra credit to students who attended the event, showing the importance of this topic to the University. The debate allowed the group to show the pro-life perspective on this inhumane practice. 

Lawmakers have tried to expand the practice here in Oregon and across the country. We must stand up for the elderly and most vulnerable. We need to express our love and compassion to those who are facing the end of their lives, but physician-assisted suicide is neither love nor compassion. 

–Marcos Sanchez
Chemeketa Students for Life President 
SFLA Wilberforce Fellow 



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