California Bill Promoting Euthanasia Gets Committee Hearing Wednesday
by Steven Ertelt
June 24, 2008
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — A bill in the California legislature that has already been approved by the state Assembly will get its first hearing in the Senate. AB 2747 has been double-referred to both the Senate Health and Judiciary Committees and the health panel plans an afternoon hearing on Wednesday.
Pro-life groups are joining their colleagues in the medical and disability rights communities in asking state residents to urge their state senators, if on the committee, to strongly oppose the bill.
The bill would codify palliative sedation and voluntary stopping of eating and drinking as legitimate means of pain control and pro-life groups are strongly opposed to it.
The assisted suicide bill allows doctors and nurses to suggest death by unconscious dehydration but the Assembly voted for the measure on a mostly party-line 40-32 vote.
The California Pro-Life Council articulated its concerns in an email alert sent to LifeNews.com about the upcoming hearing.
The group says AB 2747 "promotes practices which may hasten death, overlooking what should be the primary focus of counseling to a patient approaching the end of life, chiefly excellent palliative care and hospice referral."
The group has concerns that the bill arbitrarily defines terminal illness as having one year or less to live when that’s a subjective assessment.
It worries the bill promotes suicide as a treatment option via the voluntary stopping of eating and drinking and palliative sedation and that the bill would create situations where cost considerations could affect treatment options — as assisted suicide options are generally cheaper.
AB 2747 is authored by the same Democrats who unsuccessfully carried physician-assisted suicide bills the last three years.
Other pro-life groups oppose the measure as well.
"This deceptive bill will cause death and shorten life, despite its claims," Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, told LifeNews.com previously.
"By transforming palliative sedation into a vehicle for assisted suicide, AB 2747 would transform doctors and nurses from healers and comforters into killers like Dr. Jack Kevorkian," he said.
Brian Johnston, the head of the California Pro-Life Council and the author of a seminal book on assisted suicide, has also talked with LifeNews.com about the measure’s problems.
"On the surface, AB 2747 seems like a simple bill benefiting the hospice care industry," he said. "However, it contains a sneaky loophole that will permit doctors and health care providers to transform the rarely used practice of ‘palliative sedation’ into a vehicle permitting assisted suicide."
Ultimately, Johnston told LifeNews.com that "AB 2747 promotes practices which may hasten death, overlooking what should be the primary focus of counseling to a patient approaching the end of life, chiefly excellent palliative care and hospice referral."
Pro-life groups fear that deep sedation, once introduced and promoted in California, will become a frequent occurrence as it has been in the Netherlands, one of the few nations to approve assisted suicide and euthanasia.
An April study found the number of patients killed via deep sedation is on the rise.
Researchers at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam found 1,800 people — or 7.1 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands in 2005 — involved deep sedation.
This is the fourth time pro-euthanasia legislators have pushed a bill promoting euthanasia or assisted suicide. The legislature defeated previous attempts to make California the second state after Oregon to officially legalize assisted suicide.
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