Beliefs

Bill allowing physician-assisted dying moves forward in California legislature

Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at 29, moved from California to Oregon, where physician assisted suicide was legal, dying there because California forbade the practice.
Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at 29, moved from California to Oregon, where physician assisted suicide is legal, dying there because California forbids the practice.

Photo courtesy of Mariano Cuajao via Flickr

Brittany Maynard, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at 29, moved from California to Oregon, where physician assisted suicide is legal, dying there because California forbids the practice.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – California lawmakers on Thursday revived a bill that would allow physician-assisted dying in the most populous U.S. state, after a renewal of debate on end-of-life issues prompted by the death of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard last year.

The bill, which is being fought by numerous religious and medical organizations, would allow adults suffering from incurable illnesses that their doctors say will kill them within six months to request medication to end their lives.

It was approved by the state Senate appropriations committee days after the powerful California Medical Association dropped its opposition.It now goes to the full Senate.

“We are one step closer to ensuring Californians have access to all options when they are facing the end of life,” said Senator Lois Wolk, a Democrat who co-authored the bill.

Another co-author, Democratic state Senator Bill Monning, said the bill was inspired by the death of Maynard, who moved to Oregon from California so that she could get a legal prescription for lethal drugs under that state’s aid-in-dying law.

Backers of the  proposal made some changes to the bill to gain more support after it initially met with strong opposition from hospitals, doctors, anti-abortion organizations and disability rights groups.

As currently written, it allows hospitals and medical providers to refuse to comply with a patient’s wish for assisted dying, and also makes it illegal to pressure or manipulate people into ending their lives.

On May 20, the California Medical Association, which still opposes this concept, removed its formal opposition to the bill.

The California ProLife Council, which opposed the bill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday. But the organization, which opposes abortion, said on its website that legalizing assisted dying puts at risk people who are disabled or depressed.

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Reuters

5 Comments

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  • You can kill yourself anywhere, why make it an “event”? Think of the new line of Hallmark cards we will need to suffer with, and the “Die With Dignity” day we will need to observe. Just kill yourself.

  • There is nothing dignified about killing yourself, or having a doctor do it. There is nothing undignified in suffering, only vanity leads us to think so. The loss of dignity comes from a lack of love. When no one responds to our suffering, when others ignore the suffering of some one, that is undignified.
    Love is the source of dignity for man, especially the love of God. Responding to suffering and the easing of that suffering, whether by love and compassion, or medication, is the most dignifying act we can accomplish.
    Suicide and assisted suicide is a cold and pragmatic act dressed up in “compassion”

  • The whole Left Coast of this country is becoming more and more strange. I like the way the piece is written to somehow dignify the upcoming legality it: “Physician Assisted Dying.” Whatever happened to “Sawbones Suicide?”

  • @Jenkins,

    “nothing undignified in suffering…”

    How nice of you to decide things for everyone else.
    Your reflexive, dogmatic nonsense reveals a lack of compassion and empathy – the very thing you say you care about.

    Religion is garbage. It stops people from thinking.
    Clearly your enemy is your own heartless philosophy – fossilized and primitive from a time when people didn’t know where the sun went at night.

    The ‘love of God’ is mindless nonsense.
    Any ‘love’ which has the power to lessen suffering, but doesn’t – is hypocritical garbage. To adamantly insist that such a neglectful God exists and that others must pay homage to its indifference is an assault on human compassion itself.

    For shame. Religious claims, like astrology and homeopathy are a public nuisance. They are legal, like gambling, cigarettes and liquor.
    But nothing to be proud of and certainly nothing to respect.

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