Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill Passes First Test
The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a bill (AB 374) seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the Ventura County Star reports (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 3/28).
The approval sends the measure to the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 3/28).
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 (California Healthline, 3/26).
Levine and Berg reintroduced the legislation this year along with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles) (Yi, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/28).
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said he would like the issue to be decided by voters, but he has not ruled out considering the proposal (Geissinger, Contra Costa Times, 3/28).
About 70% of California residents support physician-assisted suicide, according to polls.
Based on an Oregon law, 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, 3/26).
CPR's "KXJZ News" recently reported on the legislation.
The segment includes comments from Holly Swiger of the California Hospice and Palliative Care Association and a terminally ill patient (Russ, "KXJZ News," CPR, 3/28).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.