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Nor is it surprising that some people are talking about expanding the scope of existing assisted-suicide laws. The six-month timeline shuts out some terminal patients, such as those with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS, and Alzheimer’s Disease, who are often no longer physically or mentally capable of meeting the extensive requirements to qualify for the law once they are within six months of death.

Assisted-suicide laws require both the physical ability to self-administer the lethal medication and mental competence to make an extraordinarily difficult decision.

Discussion about expanding the timeline has already begun. In Oregon, the chairman of the Legislature’s healthcare committee, Rep. Mitch Greenlick, said he plans to introduce a bill in the next legislative session that would change the timeline from six months to 12 months.

That idea was also discussed at a legislative hearing in Sacramento in January looking at how California’s End of Life Option Act has been implemented.

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