Assisted Suicide Bill Faces Opposition
Assembly members Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) and Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) hope a bill (AB 651) that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs for terminally ill patients will be heard by a Senate committee in May, the Sacramento Bee reports. However, it "remains to be seen" whether there is enough support for the bill to become law, according to the Bee (Benson, Sacramento Bee, 3/27).
Under the bill, terminally ill patients would have to be declared mentally competent by two doctors and wait for 15 days before they would be able to request a lethal prescription to self-administer (California Healthline, 3/15).
Catholic groups, some advocates for the disabled and doctors' groups oppose the measure. Californians Against Assisted Suicide, a coalition formed to oppose the bill, says the bill could pressure disabled people into requesting lethal drugs and would be at odds with doctors' roles as healers.
Berg, chair of the Assembly Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, said she believes a "terminally ill patient has the right to make that choice," and the matter is "an issue of privacy" and "dignity" (Sacramento Bee, 3/27).