BOB ABERNETHY: On another question of great interest [to] the religious community, assisted suicide, the House is preparing to vote on a bill that could severely curb a doctor's ability to prescribe lethal drugs for the purpose of suicide. That ability is at the heart of the Oregon law that went into effect last fall. Since then, 10 people have asked for and received medication allowing them to end their lives. Eight took the medication and died; the other two died of their illnesses. From Portland, Tom D'Antoni reports on a cancer patient who has prepared himself for that fatal decision.
TOM D'ANTONI: This was Brian and Martha Lovell's wedding day 11 years ago. An active man, not long after his daughter, Samantha, was born three years ago, he began building an addition to his house in suburban Portland. A year and a half ago, at age 35, he was diagnosed with colon cancer and was given six months to live. Now, he spends most of his time here or in bed and on massive doses of morphine, because the cancer has spread throughout his body. The unfinished work on his house symbolizes what has happened to his life. When he has the strength, he tries to spend as much time as he can with Samantha and his stepson, Matt, who is beginning his senior year in high school. Brian and Martha are ready to use Oregon's Death with Dignity law.
Mr. BRIAN LOVELL: There will just be some point when we make a decision that my quality of life is no longer worth living, and it's time to leave.
Get them feet covered up. You know, that little girl is my pride and joy, and I want to see her grow up as far as I possibly can, so I don't want this Death with Dignity law, like, in my life early, because I'm greedy, I want to see her grow up as far as I possibly can. But on the other hand, if things get bad at the end, I'm racked with pain, can't feed myself, got tubes and stuff coming out of me, I don't want that to be her last thoughts and visions of me, either.
I follow no faith. I believe in God, but I don't believe in a lot of the, say, rituals that most of the religions force upon people. I just believe -- I believe in God, and I believe you should live the best life you possibly can.
Ms. MARTHA LOVELL: I just don't understand it, I never will, but that doesn't mean that I've lost my faith in God either, because that's what gets me through. I mean, our daughter, she was born two months early. She almost died, and we had a rough, rough time, but she made it through, and every day I look at her eyes and I know there has to be a God, because she's our little miracle because she made it, and now this happens, and you know -- but you still have to have your faith and you still have to believe that there's a reason.