Catholic Official Condemns Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill
Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony on Monday urged members of his archdiocese to pressure state lawmakers to oppose a bill (AB 374) seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/3).
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.
Levine and Berg reintroduced the measure this year along with Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez (D-Los Angeles). Based on an Oregon law, AB 374 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.
The Assembly Judiciary Committee last week approved the bill (California Healthline, 3/28).
Mahony characterized the legislation as an "assault on life" (Vara-Orta, Los Angeles Times, 4/3).
Mahony said that Núñez, a Catholic, "somehow has not understood and grasped the culture of life but has allowed himself to get swept into this other direction, the culture of death" (Anderson, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/2).
Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for Núñez, said, "Personal liberty and dignity are important values to Californians, regardless of their religious beliefs" (Blood, AP/San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/3).