California passes right-to-die bill : Legislature OKs physician-assisted suicide, sent to governor
California passes right-to-die bill : Legislature OKs physician-assisted suicide, sent to governor

California passes right-to-die bill: Legislature OKs physician-assisted suicide, sent to governor

California Senate Passes Right-to-Die Legislation.

The “death with dignity” movement marked a victory in California Friday when the state Senate passed a bill allowing terminally ill patients to end their own lives with the help of a physician.

The measure, based on a similar law in Oregon, passed the state Senate on Friday on a vote of 23-14, after passing the Assembly on Wednesday.

“We are here today on the precipice of granting a wish that I was not able to give my mother,” said Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, who said her mother died in agony from a form of leukemia.

It was the subject of weeks of debate, as supporters argued that the measure would allow people in the last stages of terminal illness to die peacefully, while advocates for seniors and the disabled argued it could make people vulnerable to greedy relatives or others who wished to avoid taking care of them or inherit their money.

Some religious organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, also opposed the bill.

The measure allows physicians to prescribe medication to end a person’s life if two doctors agree the person has only six months to live. The person also must be deemed mentally competent by a mental health professional.

Tricking or coercing patients to end their lives would be a felony under the measure.

Physician-assisted suicide, which is legal in Washington state, Montana and Vermont, gained new impetus in the most populous U.S. state last year after a 29-year-old brain cancer patient, Brittany Maynard, moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of that state’s Death with Dignity Act.

A measure introduced after Maynard’s death won the support of the state Senate in June but died in the Assembly’s Health Committee. It was re-introduced last month as part of a special session on healthcare, during which the Assembly Health Committee was comprised of members more sympathetic to the bill.

The California Medical Association, which for years has opposed assisted suicide, withdrew its opposition last May and took a neutral stance instead. Many doctors continue to oppose it, saying they should preserve life rather than help end it.

Brown, a former Catholic seminarian, has not said whether he will sign it.


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    One comment

    1. Your source has done you a disservice. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our MT Supreme Court ruled that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The Court did not address civil liabilities. No one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal charges. Does that sound legal to you? Oregon model bills have been rejected by our legislature in 2011, 2013 and 2015 because of gapping loopholes that expand the scope of abuse of elders and folks with disabilities of all ages. Passage would have established dangerous public policy.
      In Oregon and Washington heirs are allowed to participate from the start to the end, eviscerating intended safe guards. Everyone involved in the lethal process gets immediate immunity and family members are not required to be contacted. A witness is not required to confirm the dose was self-administered so if they struggled and changed their mind who would ever know? In addition by these laws investigations or public inquiries are prohibited leaving no recourse for surviving family members who were not contacted. Does that sound like good public policy to you? This is very dangerous public policy that does not serve the common good. All of these loopholes are embodied in California’s ABX2-15.
      Oregon and Washington should amend their initiative-sound-bite driven dangerous laws.

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