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%PM, %21 %983 %2013 %22:%Feb

Letter from Former CA Dept. of Rehabilitation Director Catherine Campisi Ph.D in response to Asm. Committee hearing on end of life Featured

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*Letter in response to California State Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care on February 19.  Testifying before the committee was Michael White, board member of the Death with Dignity National Center and an Assisted Suicide advocate that co-authored the failed Proposition 161 that would have legalized the practice in California.


February 19,2O13

Assembly Committee on Aging and Long Term Care

Chairperson, Assemblymember Mariko Yamada

1020 N Street, Room 360

Sacramento, CA 95814

Dear Chairperson Yamada and Committee:

As the former Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation (1999-2006) I appreciate the Assembly Aging and Long Term Care Committee taking a critical look at the many issues surrounding "end of life." I would be attending this committee hearing in-person today, but I am out of town due to a fami[y obligation.

I have long been a proponent of increasing access and information to quality counseling, hospice, and palliative care, for those with an illness defined as terminal. However, I am concerned that this topic not be broadened to include a discussion of assisted suicide legalization as part of this continuum of care. For a variety of reasons, assisted suicide legalization poses a very real danger and concern to people living with serious illness or disability.

Looking at the psychological impacts, assisted suicide would have far more potential to do harm than good to individuals facing serious illness or disability that may be defined as terminal. Apart from these concerns, assisted suicide legalization is a direct threat to anyone viewed as a significant cost liability to public or private healthcare providers.

Additionally, I respectfully caution the committee from relying on "end-of-life" data compiled in states like Oregon and Washington, the only states where assisted suicide is currently legal. Neither state mandates data collection or reporting of patients requesting lethal prescriptions, how many are referred for psychological treatment or if they are receiving hospice care. The data collected by the state is submitted by doctors attending these patients.

I am equally concerned about consideration of any data or information provided on the "end of life" issue by the organizations Compassion & Choices and Death with Dignity National Center. Compassion & Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society, was created with the intent of passing and supporting assisted suicide legalization efforts. The Death with Dignity National Center's stated mission is to promote the "right to request and receive a prescription to hasten death." Both organizations have a specific agenda as it relates to "end of life" and are outside mainstream hospice, disability rights and medical organizations.

Thank you for the opportunity to submit to the Committee, and please feel free to call on me as a resource as your discussions on this topic move forward.

With regards,

Catherine Campisi PhD

Former Director California Department of Rehabilitation ( 1999-2006)

Former Dean of Student Services - California Community Colleges (1999)

Former Chairperson - California State lnter-agency Americans with Disabilities Act Task Force (2000-2003)

Past President Association on Higher Education and Disability


We Oppose Assisted Suicide

  • Access to Independence – San Diego
  • American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today – Northern California (ADAPT)
  • American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today – Southern California (ADAPT)
  • Alliance of Catholic Healthcare
  • American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME)
  • American College of Physicians – American Society of Internal Medicine
  • American College of Pediatricians
  • American Medical Association
  • American Nursing Association
  • Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO)
  • Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
  • Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN)
  • Berkeley Commission on Disability
  • California Catholic Conference
  • California Chapter of TASH (CalTASH)
  • California Disability Alliance (CDA)
  • California Family Alliance
  • California Family Council
  • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)
  • California Latino Medical Association
  • California Nurses for Ethical Standards (CNES)
  • California ProLife Council
  • California Right to Life Education Fund
  • California State Council on Developmental Disabilities
  • Californians for Disability Rights (CDR)
  • Catholics for the Common Good
  • Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID)
  • Christian Medical and Dental Association
  • Coalition for Concerned Medical Professionals
  • Communities Actively Living Independents and Free (CALIF)
  • Crusade for Life
  • De La Salle Institute
  • Disability Rights Center
  • Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
  • Disability Rights Enforcement Education Services (DREES)
  • Disability Section of the American Public Health Association
  • FREED, Center for Independent Living
  • Hispanics for Life
  • Independent Living Center of Southern California (ILCSC)
  • Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)
  • Independent Living Services of Northern California (ILSNC)
  • International Life Services
  • Joni and Friends
  • Justice for All (JFA)
  • La Raza Roundtable of Santa Clara County
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Life Priority Network
  • Life Legal Defense Foundation
  • Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC)
  • National Council on Disability
  • National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
  • National Spinal Cord Injury Association
  • Not Dead Yet – California Chapter
  • Not Dead Yet (NDY)
  • Oakland Mayors Commission on Human Relations
  • Patients Rights Council
  • Physicians for Compassionate Care
  • Placer Independent Resource Services, Inc.
  • Pro-Life America
  • Right to Life League of Southern California
  • San Mateo County, CA
  • Scholl Institute of Bioethics
  • Second Thoughts, People Living with Disabilities Opposing Assisted Suicide
  • Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative
  • TASH
  • The Arc of California
  • The California Catholic Conference
  • The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (CBC Network)
  • The Oaks Group
  • West Coast Pro Life
  • Western Service Workers Association
  • World Association of Persons with Disabilities (WAPD)