Death with Dignity advocate Brittany Maynard's choice to die Saturday has shed light on the laws that would allow terminally ill people to take a fatal dose of medication prescribed by doctors.
Maynard moved to Oregon in June in order to have access to the state's Death with Dignity Act. Voters approved that law in 1994, but opponents persuaded a federal judge to issue an injunction temporarily blocking the law. Voters in November 1997 overwhelmingly reaffirmed the nation's first aid-in-dying law, and it's been in place ever since.
According to state statistics compiled through Dec. 31, 2013:
— People who have used the law since late 1997: 752 (396 men, 356 women)
— People younger than 35 who have used the law: 6
— Median age of the deceased: 71
— Percentage of the deceased who were white: 97
— Percentage who had at least some college: 72
— Percentage of patients who informed relatives of their decision: 94
— Percentage of patients who died at a home: 95 percent
— Median minutes between ingestion of lethal drug and unconsciousness: 5
— Median minutes between ingestion and death: 25
— Number of terminally ill people who have moved to Oregon to die: unknown