California Catholic Conference Opposes Irresponsible Expansion of Assisted Suicide

For Immediate Release
March 21, 2024

(Sacramento, CA) – The California Catholic Conference announced today that it is vehemently opposed to SB 1196, the proposed bill that would expand the definitions for eligibility and eliminate residency requirements for those seeking suicide options from their physicians.

“SB 1196 eliminates all of the potential ‘safeguards’ that were originally put into place when the End of Life Option Act was initially approved,” said CCC Executive Director Kathleen Domingo. “We’ve already seen that the state has not lived up to its promise to record data for those utilizing this terminal method. Now, this new bill will expand the definition of those who qualify for aid-in-dying drugs to include those without a terminal prognosis and those with psychological suffering.”

“Most critically, by allowing dementia patients access to life-ending drugs, it opens up incredibly vulnerable people to the possibility of coercion or worse,” she said.

SB 1196 extends the law to patients without a terminal prognosis but with a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” that causes “physical or psychological suffering” and includes people with early to mid-stage dementia, a condition that on its own does not cause death. It also removes the current California residency requirement.

“SB 1196 puts vulnerable patients at risk and violates the trust of fellow legislators who initially voted in favor of the Act because it was narrowly written and contained a sunset date,” Domingo said.

The Conference also pointed out that the death penalty is rightly not applied to people with a cognitive disability to protect the vulnerable. Yet, SB 1196 puts lethal drugs into the hands of those same vulnerable people with dementia or cognitive decline outside of prison.

“Suicide rates in California continue to skyrocket in vulnerable communities. At a time when CA is reeling from medical and mental healthcare scarcities, introducing a bill inviting a vast population to consider suicide is like adding gasoline to a wildfire,” Domingo said.


Share this Post