Backers Estimate Toll of Doctor-Assisted Suicide
Approximately 525 terminally ill Californians annually would use life-ending prescription drugs if the state approves a bill (AB 374) seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide, according to estimates by supporters of the proposal, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Californians for Compassionate Choices based its estimates on data from Oregon, which adopted a similar law nine years ago (Geissinger, Oakland Tribune, 3/9).
Assembly members Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) and Patty Berg (D-Santa Rosa) co-authored legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide last year that was passed in the Assembly but defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The measure was modeled after the Oregon law.
Levine and Berg reintroduced the legislation this year along with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles).
The proposal applies to patients who are given a prognosis of less than six months to live and then make two oral requests to separate physicians for the prescription, along with a written request. If a physician suspects the patient is mentally impaired, a psychological or psychiatric evaluation can be requested (California Healthline, 2/16).
If California passed the law, the state could experience a 40% increase in the overall number of people committing suicide within a decade, according to the Tribune (Oakland Tribune, 3/9).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday reported on the report. The segment includes comments from Keith Graham, an internist in Oregon who supports the state's aid-in-dying law (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 3/8).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.