California Senate OKs Bill on Information About End-of-Life Care
On Wednesday, the California Senate voted 21-17 to approve legislation that would require physicians to provide information about end-of-life care if requested by patients diagnosed with a terminal illness, the Los Angeles Times reports (McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 8/21).
The measure -- AB 2747 by Assembly member Patty Berg (D-Eureka) -- now goes back to the Assembly for a vote. If Assembly members approve the bill, it will go to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) (Eureka Reporter, 8/21).
According to the Times, the legislation "divided the medical community." Supporters included AIDS Project Los Angeles, the American Civil Liberties Union and the California Medical Association, while the California ProLife Council, Catholic Healthcare West and Northridge Hospital Medical Center came out against it (Los Angeles Times, 8/21).
Responding to a Times editorial earlier this month, Stanton Price -- a health lawyer and member of the Los Angeles County Bar Association's Bioethics Committee, as well as the Los Angeles County Medical Association's Biomedical Ethics Committee -- writes in the Times' "Blowback" feature that "AB 2747 is a legally confused solution to non-existent problems that opens the way to doctor-assisted suicide."
According to Price, the measure "brings serious confusion to the law regarding end-of-life care." He concludes that California lawmakers should reject it (Price, Los Angeles Times, 8/21).