Building the Safe Harbor The Implementation of the ODDA
Between the time Measure 16 was passed in November 1994 and the time the first Oregon Death With Dignity Act (ODDA) death was reported in March 1998, the status of the Oregon assisted suicide reform remained in some doubt, as assisted suicide opponents made several maneuvers to invalidate the law. In Chapter 4, we chronicled the unsuccessful efforts in 1997 by anti-reform forces to repeal the ODDA by the same initiative process that was used to pass it. This and other legal maneuvers to thwart implementation of the ODDA began in earnest soon after the law’s passage in 1994, and not until 1997 were the anti-reform forces finally defeated, paving the way for the first ODDA death. This chapter details the various stages in the efforts to block implementation. This description includes many overlapping events that occurred in multiple legal arenas. It also examines how the ODDA proponents were successful in keeping their revolutionary reform afloat in the face of multiple legal contests in multiple arenas of challenge over the course of these forty months. Table 6.1 provides a timeline for these years.