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August 26, 2000

Nader Joins Bush and Lieberman in supporting PRPA

During a campaign stop, presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, told Oregon voters he supports the Pain Relief Promotion Act and opposes the Oregon assisted suicide law.

Colin Fogarty of Oregon Public Broadcasting reported, "Nader reiterated his opposition to physician-assisted suicide, saying HMO's could put financial pressure on patients to end their lives. He supports a Congressional bill to prevent use of Oregon's voter-approved Death with Dignity Act" ("Nader Speaks Out on N.W. Issues," August 25, 2000, see

The Oregonian also reported on Nader's wish to protect the vulnerable from assisted suicide in a story by Jeff Mapes, August 26, 2000, p. A11).

With Lieberman, Bush and Nader favoring the Pain Relief Promotion Act, there is now tripartisan support for this enlightened piece of legislation to improve pain care for the seriously ill and to protect vulnerable patients.

August 29, 2000

Urge Senators to Support the Pain Relief Promotion Act!

Dear PCC Members and Friends:

The following is a request forwarded to PCC from Americans for Integrity in Palliative Care (AIPC) urging letters to Senators supporting the Nickles/Lieberman Pain Relief Promotion Act. The Act is tentatively scheduled for a debate and vote September 15 and 18; 60 votes will be needed to end Senator Wyden's threatened filibuster of the bill.

Please take a few minutes to act on this alert. Feel free to print it out, copy it, share it with friends and colleagues, etc. You can can magnify the impact of your letter by producing a generic version ("Dear Senator" without specifying a Senator's name) and faxing it (on "fine" setting) to:

Gene Tarne Americans for Integrity in Palliative Care
fax (703) 684-5813

AIPC will gather these letters into packets and reproduce the packets for sending to all Senators as the vote approaches.

Thank you for your ongoing support,

Greg Hamilton MD
William Toffler MD



The Pain Relief Promotion Act promotes the use of federally controlled drugs for pain relief without permitting assisted suicide and euthanasia. In 1999, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved this measure (H.R. 2260). Sen. Don Nickles (R-OK) has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. Senate (S. 1272). Forty-two Senators are sponsors. Despite strong bipartisan support, a determined campaign is underway to stop passage of this legislation.

SENATE FLOOR ACTION EXPECTED: The Senate Judiciary Committee redrafted the House-passed bill, H.R. 2260, and on April 27 reported the measure favorably, 10-yes, 8-no. H.R. 2260 is now expected to be on the Senate floor in September. It is anticipated that opponents, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), will employ a filibuster to prevent the bill from coming to a vote. Please urge your Senators to support this bill and oppose a filibuster (60 votes required to stop). More information on S. 1272 or H.R. 2260 can be found on the internet at

BACKGROUND: In 1998, U.S. attorney general Janet Reno announced that the federal Controlled Substances Act establishes no uniform national policy against the use of federally regulated drugs for assisted suicide. As a result, these drugs may be used to assist patients' suicides in any state that, like Oregon, allows the practice under state law. This ruling disregards current federal law that prohibits the use of these drugs to endanger "public health and safety" (21 USC 823) or for anything other than a "legitimate medical purpose" (21 CFR 1306.04). For its part, the Pain Relief Promotion Act affirms the use of federally controlled drugs for legitimate pain control, even in cases where such use may unintentionally hasten death as a side-effect ("principle of double effect"). It also reaffirms that federal law does not authorize the deliberate use of federally regulated drugs for assisted suicide or euthanasia. A state law allowing such practices does not change the federal government's responsibility to prevent misuse of potentially dangerous drugs. This Act also provides important new programs to promote palliative care through research, education, and training. The measure is endorsed by many medical groups, including the American Medical Association. More information on this issue can be obtained at the NCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities' web site:


Please contact your two Senators through letters, phone calls, fax letters, and e-mail. Mail letters to:

The Honorable (name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, and ask for the Senators' offices; or call the Senators' local offices. More information on Senators' phone or fax numbers and e-mail addresses can be found on the internet at

MESSAGE: "Please support the Pain Relief Promotion Act and oppose any filibuster to the bill."

WHEN: It is anticipated that Senate floor debate will take place in September.

Please continue action until you hear that the Senate vote has occurred.

And remember to fax a "Dear Senator:" copy to Gene Tarne at 703-684-5813.


© Copyright 2000
Physicians for Compassionate Care Educational Foundation