ASSISTED SUICIDE: Aroner Introduces Bill Similar to Oregon’s
Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley) yesterday introduced an assisted-suicide bill modeled on Oregon's pioneering legislation, and the California Medical Association and the Catholic Church are already ramping up efforts to stop the measure in its tracks. The bill would require a doctor's determination that candidates for a lethal prescription "be 18 or older, of sound mind and have fewer than six months to live because of an incurable and irreversible disease." Physicians assisting the suicide would not be permitted to write the prescription until at least 15 days after the original request. The Catholic Church, which helped scuttle a 1992 assisted suicide ballot initiative with a multi- million dollar ad campaign, will "vigorously" fight Aroner's bill, according to California Catholic Conference lobbyist Carol Hogan. CMA lobbyist Scott Syphax said, "Physician-assisted suicide is the opposite approach to what we should be taking. There are far more compassionate approaches than to give government sanction to affirmatively ending one's life" (Gunnison, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2). The Contra Costa Times reports that a statewide poll by the Death With Dignity National Center "found that 71% of respondents said they favored the idea of allowing doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives" (Rarick, 3/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.