Doctor-Assisted Suicide Bill Revisited by Legislature
The Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will begin debating proposed legislation (AB 374) seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Geissinger, San Jose Mercury News, 3/26).
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, 3/9).
Levine and Berg reintroduced the legislation this year along with Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (D-Los Angeles).
The bill would require a majority vote, and support by Nuñez could improve the likelihood of its approval, according to the Mercury News.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) says he would like the issue to be decided by voters, but he has not ruled out considering the proposal.
About 70% of California residents support physician-assisted suicide, according to polls (San Jose Mercury News, 3/26).
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, 3/9).