Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Oregon Ballot Measure 51 (1997)
Measure 51 of 1997 would have repealed Oregon's Death with Dignity Act (also known as Measure 16), which legalized doctor-assisted euthanasia. It was sent to the ballot by the state legislature. The measure was defeated in the 4 November 1997 special election with 445,830 votes in favor, and 666,275 votes against.
The three years after Oregonians passed the Death with Dignity Act were marked with controversy. Opponents of the Death with Dignity Act, seeking to repeal the law, got the legislature to refer Measure 51 to the voters, hoping that the voters would have changed their mind in the intervening years.
The debate over Measure 51 found a re-hashing of the standard arguments about assisted suicide. (See the euthanasia article for more information). Proponents of Measure 51 also argued that the Death with Dignity Law suffered from several flaws, including a lack of a mandatory counseling provision, a family notification provision, strong reporting requirements, or a strong residency requirement. Measure 51 opponents argued that sending the measure back to voters was disrespectful considering they had already passed Measure 16 via the initiative process. They also felt that the safeguards in the Death with Dignity Act were adequate.
- Oregon Voter's Guide page on Measure 51--includes the full text of the measure, and arguments for and against
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