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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

California Moves One Step Closer to Legalizing Assisted Suicide

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 1:35 PM

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SF Weekly recently reported on SB 128, a controversial bill that would allow doctors in California to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. Today, after a nearly two hour debate, the state Assembly passed the bill with a 42-33 vote. It now heads to the state Senate, where it’s also expected to pass. 

Governor Brown has remained tight-lipped about the bill, although his Catholicism aligns him with assisted suicide's most ardent opponents.

As SF Weekly previously reported, the bill’s critics argue that legalizing assisted suicide could exploit poor, minority, and rural patients who don’t have the resources for lengthy or cost-prohibitive treatment. Last month, lobby group Californians Against Assisted Suicide warned of “suicide pills” becoming a viable and medically-accepted treatment option.

“I just can’t believe this will actually provide choices for my community,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, who opposed the bill, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, countered, “What it will do is provide a measure of freedom to people who are dying. That choice is everyone’s to make for themselves.”

Assisted suicide is legal in three states — Washington, Oregon, and Vermont. Lawmakers in California are particularly interested in Oregon, where assisted suicide has been legal for nearly 20 years. More than 1,300 patients have sought life-ending prescriptions since assisted suicide was legalized in Oregon. Of those, 859 people have died, according to the state's latest figures.


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Jeremy Lybarger

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