California Senate Votes Friday on Legalizing Assisted Suicide, Democrats Skip Committee to Pass Bill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 10, 2015   |   4:50PM   |  

The California Senate will vote Friday on a dangerous bill to legalize assisted suicide and the legislative chamber is expected to approve the measure, which pro-life groups say will target the disabled and elderly. In what some opponents are calling a dirty political trick, Democrats in the Senate have put it on the fast track by bypassing all committees and taking the bill directly to the floor.

As reported, the California Assembly voted Wednesday to approve the measure. The legislation passed by a vote of 42-33.

Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition tells that the Senate is expected to approve the bill.

“Knowing that the California Senate already passed the previous version of the assisted suicide bill, it is likely that California Governor Jerry Brown will need to veto the assisted suicide bill,” he said.


Schadenberg says people need to know of the dangers associated with assisted suicide.

“Does legalizing assisted suicide show care and concern to someone who is living with psychological pain? Recently, Dr Will Johnston wrote about a young adult patient who became suicidal after watching a video about Brittany Maynard, the California woman who moved to Oregon to die by assisted suicide<‘ he said. “A primary risk associated with depression is suicidal ideation. The data indicates that legalizing assisted suicide does not reduce suicide, rather it appears to have a suicide contagion effect.”

Other experts on assisted suicide and euthanasia say lawmakers are ignoring problems in other states that have passed it.

“The assemblymembers didn’t focus on the bill’s language,” said Margaret Dore, president of Choice is an Illusion, regarding ABX2-15, which is modeled on similar laws in Oregon and Washington State.  “The bill is sold as giving people choice and control at the end of life. Yet the bill’s language is stacked against the patient and applies to people with years, even decades, to live.”

“The bill applies to people with a ‘terminal disease,’ which is defined as having less than six months to live.  Most people thinks this means ‘dying,’” Dore said.  “However, in Oregon, which uses a nearly-identical definition of terminal disease, an 18-year-old with insulin-dependent diabetes is ‘eligible’ for assisted suicide.  Doctors are often wrong at predicting life expectancy.  Sadly, this bill encourages people with years, even decades, to live to throw away their lives.”

“In my law practice, I started out working in guardianships, wills and probate, and saw abuse of all kinds, especially where there was money involved (where there’s a will, there are heirs),” Dore explained.  “The California bill sets up the perfect crime: your heir can actively participate in signing you up for the lethal dose and once the lethal dose is in the home, there’s no oversight –not even a witness is required. If you resisted or struggled, who would know?”

“The Assembly got caught up in the concept of the bill, when the devil was in the details of the bill text,” Dore said.  “Hopefully, when it goes to the Senate, there will be a closer examination of the text and the raft of problems in the bill. Governor Brown should ready his veto pen for this deceptive legislation.”

The Assembly debate was quite intense. Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto) told lawmakers about her son, who was near death. Doctors urged her to let him go. Nineteen days later, he came off life support. He survived, and is now a husband and father.

“Doctors don’t know everything,” Brown said.

Assemblywoman Marie Waldron (R-Escondido) during the debate told members that “suicide should not be the first option where hospice and palliative care have not been tried.”

Californians Against Assisted Suicide noted the irony of the bill getting approval on a week devoted to stopping suicide.

“The powerful pro-suicide special interest groups are sparing no expense in their campaign – ironically during the week the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has designated “Suicide Prevention Week,” the group told LifeNews.

Californians Against Assisted Suicide spokesperson Tim Rosales told LifeNews:

“We appreciated many eloquent statements of assisted suicide opposition from progressive legislators representing low income districts. The bipartisan opposition and narrow Assembly vote indicates that there are still so many unanswered and troubling issues with this bill as it’s rushed through this special session. This bill remains opposed by groups representing people living with disabilities, cancer doctors, people advocating for the poor and uninsured and faith based organizations.”

Leading pro-life groups have condemned the jury-rigging of two Assembly committees that approved the legislation.

“The Public Health and Developmental Services Committee was comprised specifically for the Extraordinary session and replaces the original Assembly Health Committee that thwarted Senate Bill (SB) 128 earlier this summer. Numerous Democrats on that initial committee indicated they would not support the “death with dignity” bill and assured its demise” says Lori Arnold of the California Family Council. “Not content with the loss, determined lawmakers made an end run by using a narrow legislative tactic to reintroduce the measure during the special session on healthcare financing.”

“Governor Brown has indicated his displeasure with the new bill’s introduction, saying the Extraordinary Session is not the proper place or process to try to implement the controversial measure,” she said. “While pro-family advocates often have their differences with the governor, in this case we wholeheartedly agree.”

As Wesley Smith explains, “the new version of the assisted suicide legalization bill gives an open license to death doctors by preventing the possibility of meaningful oversight or transparency.”

From Assembly Bill X2-15:

The State Department of Public Health shall collect and review the information submitted pursuant to Section 443.9.

Sounds reasonable. But get this!

The information collected shall be confidential and shall be collected in a manner that protects the privacy of the patient, the patient’s family, and any medical provider or pharmacist involved with the patient under the provisions of this part. The information shall not be disclosed, discoverable, or compelled to be produced in any civil, criminal, administrative, or other proceeding.

In other words, nothing could be done with the “information” collected. And it couldn’t be used in a prosecution of a doctor, who say, assisted the suicide of a person who was coerced or not terminally ill.

ACTION: Contact the California Senate here.