ASSISTED SUICIDE: Poll Finds Widespread Support
Most Californians would allow terminally ill patients to choose physician-assisted suicide, according to a poll released Friday at an assisted suicide conference in San Francisco. Reuters/Detroit Free Press reports that the California Conference on Physician Assisted Dying was aimed at "building a mainstream campaign to get an assisted-suicide initiative before California voters that will have a better chance of passage than efforts in other states." The poll, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates of Santa Monica, found that 71% of respondents supported the practice and 59% said they "would be more likely to vote for a state legislator if he or she supports allowing physician-assisted dying." The poll also found that 64% of California voters believe the government is too involved in decisions on these matters, while only 17% "felt the government is not doing enough to protect the terminally ill."
Prelude To A Bill?
Dr. Fred Marcus, president of the San Mateo-based Death With Dignity National Center, said, "These poll results show that an overwhelming majority of Californians ... believe physician- assisted dying should be an available option for mentally competent, terminally ill patients." But that "goal worries Catholic Church representatives, right-to-life groups and others," Reuters/Free Press reports. California Catholic Conference Executive Director Ned Dolejsi said, "I think it's definitely the prelude to legislation somebody will introduce, or court action. We've got to watch it and recognize it, and be on guard" (11/14). Marcus, however, contends that a "margin of well over 3-to-1 sends the clear and convincing message that compassion and dignity for terminally ill patients are high on the agenda of California's electorate." The poll, conducted Nov. 7-8, surveyed 750 respondents and had a margin of error of +/- 3.6%. (Click here for previous CHL coverage of assisted suicide.