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It would have made CA the second, following Oregon, to legalize assisted suicide. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 28 June 2006 against the measure, meaning the legislation is dead for the rest of the legislative session. Democratic Sens. Martha Escutia of Whittier and Sheila Kuehl of Santa Monica voted for the bill but it died on a 2-2 vote.

The measure would have allowed doctors to prescribe lethal barbiturates for patients who are declared terminally ill and have less than six months to live. Patients would have had to undergo psychological examinations and waited 2 weeks after the request to take the drugs.

Dunn said he opposed the bill because he worried lawmakers would come back in future legislative sessions and expand assisted suicide by allowing patients who are not terminally ill to kill themselves as well.

A coalition of groups including doctors organizations, disability activists, Hispanic organizations and pro-life groups banded together to oppose the measure.

Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, one of the lead sponsors of AB 651, said “We’ll keep fighting.”

Even if the state legislature signs off on the assisted suicide bill, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in January he would veto it. [29June06, CA]