Assembly Members Plan To Introduce Legislation To Allow Physician-Assisted Suicide in Some Cases
Assembly members Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) and Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) plan to introduce next month legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The bill is similar to a 1997 voter-approved law in Oregon, the only state with such a law.
According to the Daily News, the Oregon law, called the Death With Dignity Act, allows physicians to prescribe drugs in quantities sufficient to result in death to mentally competent adults with terminal illnesses. Under that law, patients must have been given a prognosis of fewer than six months to live.
Stuart Waldman, chief of staff for Levine, said, "We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think we could get it passed. There's a lot of concern that terminally ill people are suffering needlessly."
Berg said, "We're working closely with Oregon, and we've had a couple other states interested in working with us as well, because as California goes, so does the rest of the nation."
Tod Tamberg, spokesperson for Cardinal Roger Mahony and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, said, "While we recognize that extraordinary means are not necessary to preserve life, the taking of life under other circumstances is rejected by our faith."
California Medical Association spokesperson Ron Lopp said that although the organization generally opposes assisted suicide, it has not yet taken a position on the bill (Geissinger, Los Angeles Daily News, 11/8).