The legal sale of "Do-It-Yourself" suicide kits in Oregon may well be on its last leg. The issue of assisted suicide has been in the news recently, most notably in the western states of California, Washington and Oregon. Prominent proponents of the practice such as the recently passed Dr. Kevorkian and the California woman who is currently on the front lines of the debate, often find themselves on the razor's edge of the law.
Sharlotte Hydorn, 91, of the San Diego area, runs a mail-order business that offers suicide kits consisting of an asphyxiation hood and a rubber hose designed to hook up to a canister of inert gas such as helium. Death comes by oxygen deprivation and appears to be painless. One would think that there would be more, not less regulation of assisted suicide, but then again, no laws can truly stop a person from ending his or her own life.
The bill was created in response to the suicide of Nicholas Klonoski, 29, of Eugene, Oregon. Klonoski ended his life with a kit purchased from Hydorn in December, 2010. While there are laws in Oregon permitting assisted suicide, the conditions are monitored by physicians and are for terminally ill patients. According to Klonoski's brother, Nicholas was not terminally ill but suffered instead from depression. Klonoski was able to buy one of the suicide kits without guidance or question.
The issue of assisted suicide evokes as many responses as there are people to ask. It is a personal decision that is supposed to allow terminally ill patients to die with dignity when they feel they have virtually no quality of life left and the pain is overwhelming. Do you think there should be mail-order suicide kits available to anyone, no questions asked?