California Lawmakers To Launch Assisted Suicide Measure
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 12, 2004
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--The same week the Bush administration asked the U.S. Supreme Court to halt assisted suicides under Oregon's 1998 "Death with Dignity Act", two California lawmakers announced that they are drafting a similar measure in their state.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Sherman Oaks, and Assemblywoman Patty Berg, D-Sebastopol, plan to introduce their bill to the California Legislature next month.
The wording of the bill is based on Oregon's voter-approved law. The drafters said Monday that they would be joining Compassion in Dying, an organization that supports voluntary euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses, in its campaign.
Oregon is the only state that allows physician-assisted suicide. Efforts by other states, most recently New Hampshire and Hawaii, have been rejected, in part because of efforts by disability rights groups.
In 1992, California voters rejected a similar measure, and a 1999 proposal never got out of the state's Legislature.
Representatives for Levine and Berg said they believed public sentiment has changed enough in in recent years that such a measure would now pass.
Several disability rights groups have opposed efforts to make assisted suicide legal. Such laws are designed primarily to protect doctors, rather than people with certain disabilities, they claim. Safeguards built into such laws are often ignored while people with significant disabilities are made to feel that they are burdens on society and their families.
"Assisted suicide here?" (Los Angeles Daily News)