Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Introduced in California

California lawmakers are being asked to create a right to die in new legislation proposed this week. SB 128, by Senators Monning (D-Monterey) and Wolk (D-Napa), attempts to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in the Golden State.

In a press conference playing heavily on emotion, the two Senators and their co-authors contended that everyone has a right to a lethal dose of drugs to end their life when faced with a terminal illness. Advocates for the disabled and the elderly objected vehemently. Marilyn Golden, a spokesperson for the group Not Dead Yet, called the practice a “deadly mix” in our cost driven health care system and a danger to a great many vulnerable people

SB 128 will face severe opposition in the California legislature – similar proposals have lost before here and in other states. The California Catholic Conference is part of a broad coalition – Californians Against Assisted Suicide(CAAS) – that opposes the bill.

The coalition points out that government safeguards are inadequate, record keeping in states where assisted suicide is legal are wanting, people are urged to commit suicide for economic, cultural and other reasons and that most doctors oppose the measure for being contrary to their ethical code.

The text of the bill is available here and more resources on the dangers of the practice can be found on CAAS’s website.   We also have pastoral guidelines on approaching the end of life available in our Embracing Our Dying section of the website. Complete coverage and Action Alerts will be available as SB 128 moves through the legislative process.

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