Rich Out-of-State Group Pushing California to Legalize Assisted Suicide

State   |   Alex Schadenberg   |   Apr 9, 2014   |   5:53PM   |   Sacramento, CA

An out-of-state special interest group has once again moved into California seeking to push assisted suicide legislation.

Despite failed legislative efforts this year in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, began a roll-out of online advertisements aimed directly at Californians. This same group sponsored California legislation in 1999, 2005 and 2007 which were all defeated with bipartisan opposition.

Assisted suicide has long been opposed by disability rights organization across California and nationally.

picassistedsuicide9b“If calculating dollars and cents, it does not take an economist to realize the frightening prospect that assisted suicide is for people living with a disability or serious illness; we are the logical target,” said Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. “Assisted suicide is not progressive, in fact it puts many vulnerable people at risk; and we have already seen examples of that where it is legal.”

Catherine Campisi, former California Department of Rehabilitation Director, wrote to the California Assembly Committee last year,  “…Assisted suicide legalization is a direct threat to anyone viewed as a significant cost liability to public or private healthcare providers.”The pro-assisted suicide organization Compassion and Choices was known formerly as the Hemlock Society is based in Oregon. The organization’s president, Barbara Coombs Lee is a former HMO executive. According to the Hartford Courant newspaper, Compassion and Choices recently spent $190,000 on advertising and lobbying efforts for a failed effort in the Connecticut General Assembly. The Connecticut General Assembly is comprised of a House of Representatives (97 Democrats and 53 Republicans) and Senate (22 Democrats and 14 Republicans).

Since 2005, Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a diverse, broad-based coalition working against assisted suicide legalization in California. The coalition is comprised of organizations including those representing disability rights, independent living, healthcare, faith-based, social justice, civil rights and medical professionals.

For more information on Californians Against Assisted Suicide, please visit our website at: Note: Alex Schadenberg is the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition and you can read his blog here.