California Assisted Suicide Measure Dies In Committee
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 27, 2006
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA--For the fourth time since 1992, a proposal to make assisted suicide legal in California has failed to gain enough support to become law.
In a close bipartisan vote late Tuesday, the State Senate Judiciary Committee defeated Assembly Bill 651, known as the "Compassionate Choices Act". The bill would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal doses of certain drugs to patients with six months or less to live.
According to a statement from Californians Against Assisted Suicide, more than 20 state and national disability rights organizations had opposed the measure, which was based on an Oregon law allowing physician assisted suicide. Many disability rights advocates have opposed efforts to legalize the practice, arguing that to do so would put people with the most significant disabilities at the greatest risk of being forced or pressured into taking their own lives or having their lives taken, especially at a time when their lives are seen as "not worth living" and the cost of health care continues to climb.
State Senator Joseph Dunn, a Democrat from Santa Ana, said -- prior to casting the vote that killed the bill -- that he did not want to see the lives of people with disabilities and low incomes cut short so the heath care industry can save money.
"More often than not, public policy decisions are driven, unfortunately, by money concerns," Dunn said.
Since Oregon voters passed their law nearly a decade ago, similar proposals in other states have been defeated.
"Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide in California Rejected by Senate Judiciary Committee" (Californians Against Assisted Suicide)
"Committee votes down assisted suicide bill" (San Francisco Chronicle)