Are Activists Trying to Legalize Assisted Suicide in Your State?

Trying to cash in on the widespread empathy generated by its media campaign featuring Brittany Maynard (the young woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon last year to die using the Death with Dignity law), the assisted-suicide activist group Compassion & Choices (C&C) aided by the Death with Dignity National Center (DWDNC) is pushing hard for doctor-prescribed suicide legalization in a growing number of states. Here is an update on 2015 developments by state: Alaska: On February 9, Rep. Harriet Drummond introduced HB 99 (An act relating to the voluntary termination of life by terminally ill individuals), a bill patterned after Oregon’s law. Previously, a 1996 bill and a 1998 lawsuit to legalize assisted suicide in Alaska failed. California: C&C is pulling out the stops in California, the only remaining West Coast state that has repeatedly rejected assisted-suicide measures. The activist group’s legalization campaign is two-fold. First, on January 20, Democratic Senators Bill Monning and Lois Wolk introduced SB 128 (End of Life Option Act). Based on the Oregon law, SB 128 would carve out an exception to California’s Penal Code 401 to grant doctors immunity from prosecution if they provide terminally-ill patients with a lethal drug prescription. Since it could take up to two years for the legislature to act on the bill, Kathryn Tucker, C&C’s former legal director and now executive director of the Disability Rights Legal Center in Southern California, filed a lawsuit on behalf of two cancer patients and five doctors (two with cancer) to speed up the process. The suit argues that when a dying patient opts for “a peaceful death” it is...

California Pro-Life Advocates Protest Lawmaker’s Assisted Suicide Bill

Pro-life advocates protested at the district offices of a state legislator who wants to make California the next state to legalize assisted suicide after Oregon voters pushed through a law there. They said assisted suicide brings the elderly and disabled death instead of compassion. The protest concerned AB 374, a bill that would allow adults who are diagnosed with less than six months to live to ask a physician for the drugs to kill themselves. Assemblywoman Patty Berg and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, both Democrats, are again behind the measure. Last year, a state Senate committee narrowly rejected their assisted suicide bill on a 3-2 vote. Eureka resident Allen Rode was one of the people who attended the protest outside Berg’s local office. He said legalizing assisted suicide would turn physicians into killers instead of healers. “There are better, more compassionate alternatives to suicide,” he told the Eureka Reporter newspaper. “The medical profession is about healing and the improvement of the quality of life. To assist in (suicide) goes against the whole ethic of the profession.” “The emphasis should be on pain management care, palliative care … and building a community of support for people,” Rode said. [22Feb07, LifeNews.com #3968, Eureka,...