Euthanasia Activists Push Bill to Make California the 4th State to Legalize Assisted Suicide

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 6, 2015   |   1:07PM   |   Sacramento, CA

California would become the fourth state to officially legalize assisted suicide under a bill a state Senate committee is hearing this week. However, pro-life groups and disability rights advocates have serious concerns about the bill.

In a 5-4 vote, the California state senate health committee passed SB 128. Now, it is getting another committee hearing.

“SB 128 would legalize assisted suicide in California.  It is moving rapidly through the legislature,” says Brian Johnston of the California Pro-Life Council. “The next hearing is on April 7th in the Senate Judiciary Committee. State Capitol, Room 4203, 1:30 p.m.”

Johnston is asking for pro-life advocates to attend and stand up to the well-funded euthanasia groups pushing the legislation.

“‘Compassion and Choices’ (once known as the Hemlock Society) is very well-funded and will have many in attendance. Please consider attending the hearing if at all possible.  We will meet on the West steps of the capitol at noon. Please wear something red.  We will have stickers and other materials available,” he said. “Aside from your personal convictions, there are powerful and objective reasons to NOT allow such laws to go into effect. You can find some of them here and at our Coalition website.”

“California is a targeted state in the George Soros-funded media campaign to ’embrace assisted suicide’.  SB 128 is racing through the State legislature. This bill mirrors the Oregon measure, in which the ‘practice’ is essentially hidden from the scrutiny of both the public and authorities, yet still many abuses leak out. Non-terminal and manipulated ‘suicides’ have been commonly reported. The California measure is being emotionally foisted on the public and lawmakers,” he added.

Johnson is concerned that many pro-life people don’t realize that California is very likely to pass this legislation and they need to speak up now.

“Please don’t take this lightly. We need to stand strong and NOW is the time to stand,” he told LifeNews.

He is also concerned that terminally ill patients like Brittan Maynard may be pushed into assisted suicides. Here’s what he has to say about that:

On Sunday evening, March 29, Scott Pelley of CBS News announced a most stunning medical achievement. A study at Duke University Medical Center, through a creative use of polio injections, has now successfully reversed cases of Glioblastomic cancer!

This is the same cancer that Compassion and Choices, the nation’s leading advocates of intentionally killing the sick, had presented as hopeless and best approached by dispatching the patient in a ‘painless manner’.

What if Brittany had just waited until Spring?
But ironically she had apparently wanted to wait! We do know that after declaring for months that Nov 1st would be ‘death day’, on October 31st she had a public change of heart, announcing that she would wait, she would NOT kill herself on Nov 1st.

Yet by the end of the day on Nov 1 came the somber announcement, “Brittany is back on schedule. Brittany is dead.”

Was there public pressure to “just follow through with the suicide” after promising for so long? What other factors influenced her from keeping her new-found commitment to wait and hope for at least one more day?

Perhaps we’ll never know, and as in all such cases, the suicide victim will never know of the hope that lays before them when society agrees to permit the legal killing of those who are depressed.

ACTION: Committee members info is available here. Contact them and urge opposition to the bill.

Wesley Smith, a California attorney who writes frequently about assisted suicide and euthanasia, says the bill is loaded with problems and would have doctors lying about the cause of death of patients killed in assisted suicides.

Here are his remarks from a column in the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper:

Assisted suicide supporters have filed SB128, a bill in the state California Senate to legalize doctor-prescribed death. Supporters justify the move by pointing to Oregon’s assisted-suicide experience that, they claim, has worked without a flaw.

But how would they know?

State oversight depends almost entirely on self-reporting by physicians, who are about as likely to tell the state that they broke the law as they are to tell the IRS they cheated on their taxes. Moreover, Oregon state officials admitted to a British House of Lords investigative committee considering legalization of assisted suicide, that Oregon’s oversight agency does not have the legal authority — or budget — to conduct independent inquiries even if a legal violation is uncovered.


Perhaps that is why Dr. Kathleen Foley and psychiatrist Herbert Hendin — a nationally known palliative care expert and a premier suicide prevention expert, respectively — concluded in their Michigan Law Review study that “the evidence strongly suggests” the Oregon law’s “safeguards are circumvented in ways that are harmful to patients.”

Meanwhile, data published by the Oregon Health Department shows that most requests for assisted suicide involve future fears about losing autonomy or the ability to engage in enjoyable activities and possible loss of dignity. These are important matters to be sure, but they don’t require lethal prescriptions to ameliorate.

Passing SB128 would dramatically increase California’s suicide rate. Last year, 105 Oregonians died by assisted suicide. California’s population is 10 times larger than Oregon’s (37.5 million versus only 3.8 million), meaning that perhaps 1,000 of us could die each year by doctor-prescribed death if the bill becomes law. If so, California’s suicide rate would increase from about 3,300 annually to 4,300, an upsurge of about one-third.

SB128 would hide that problem by requiring doctors to lie on death certificates. Under the bill, if a terminally ill patient takes a legally prescribed overdose, “The cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who uses aid-in-dying medication shall be the underlying terminal illness.” That’s not only a corruption of public records integrity, but would materially thwart the very transparency that advocates claim that their bill promotes.

Assisted-suicide apologists might say that the increased number of suicides wouldn’t matter because the people receiving the prescriptions would be dying anyway. But surely that doesn’t excuse falsifying public documents.

Moreover, by definition, those who died under the law would have passed later, but for taking the lethal drugs. Which raises another point: Legalizing doctor-prescribed death would mean that suicidal terminally ill patients would often be denied suicide-prevention services, currently a crucial aspect of hospice care.

Besides, a terminal diagnosis isn’t a guarantee one will die when predicted. Most of us know of people who were supposed to die within six months but lived for years. Humorist Art Buchwald is a notable example. He entered hospice for kidney failure, but rather than dying as expected, improved to the point that he left the program. He even lived long enough to write his last book — about the great value he received from his experience in hospice!

Assisted suicide is bad medicine and even worse public policy. The Legislature should reject hastened death and focus instead on assuring that every Californian has ready access to the best end-of-life care that medicine can provide.

ACTION: Committee members info is available here. Contact them and urge opposition to the bill.