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Senate Adjourns Without Acting on the Pain Relief Promotion Act Bill

Spring 2001

The U.S. Senate adjourned in 2000 with the misnamed Pain Relief Promotion Act remaining on the sidelines, rendering the bill dead for the 106th Congress.

Compassion in Dying worked diligently behind the scenes to help ensure the bill's failure. And we thank you, our supporters, for writing letters and calling your Senators and Representatives in Congress to educate them on PRPA's true dangers.

The PRPA controversy literally went down to the wire, with last minute attempts by its supporters to attach the legislation to a massive, end-of-year budget bill. But the months of public opposition, and a filibuster threat by Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, were enough to quash this most recent threat to pain and symptom management gains.

"The PRPA would have turned back the clock on recent gains in pain and palliative care throughout the nation," said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion in Dying. "The true purpose was to enforce a particular moral vision on the rest of the country, a moral vision that polls reveal most individuals do not share."

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But while this battle is over, another is looming. Sen. Don Nickles, (R-OK), one of PRPA's main proponents, is believed to be pushing newly appointed Attorney General John Ashcroft to issue an interpretation of the Controlled Substances Act that achieves essentially the same result as the legislation -- overturning Oregon's law. Such an interpretation was overruled by Ashcroft's predecessor, Janet Reno.

Compassion in Dying will continue to oppose any legislation or administrative act that threatens pain and palliative care, and targets Oregon's assisted dying law.

We are heartened by the work of a large coalition of health care advocacy groups who worked for PRPA's defeat. This coalition is developing a strong, comprehensive, proactive legislative proposal that will promote real and significant responses to the problem of under-treated pain. Compassion in Dying is dedicated to assist in any manner.

Watch our Web site, www.compassionindying.org, for updates in this continuing struggle.





  
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This article was provided by Compassion in Dying. It is a part of the publication Compassion in Dying.
 

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