ASSISTED SUICIDE: Aroner Makes the Case for her Bill
In a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Assemblywoman Dion Aroner (D-Berkeley) touts her bill that would legalize assisted suicide, arguing that it "provides a terminally ill, competent patient a choice about whether or not to hasten his or her death" while "imposing strict protocols" such as a waiting period, two-physician review and approval, and "an uncontestable diagnosis of terminal illness." Aroner points to Oregon's success with its Death With Dignity Act, citing a recent study showing that it was used rarely and only by patients who "knew what they were doing." She writes, "the facts surrounding how people die in California, as in most states, reveal the need for systemic change. I want to see improvements in the health care of terminally ill patients, including the improvement of pain management and greater access to hospice. But even under a perfect system of health care, there will still be a small group of dying patients who choose to end their suffering. It is for these few patients who request it that the option of a hastened death needs to be available." She concludes, "My bill simply provides compassionate medical assistance by a willing physician to dying patients who choose a humane and dignified death" (3/26).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.