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Thursday, 04 June 2015 19:53

As SB 128 Moves to Assembly, Bipartisan Opposition to Assisted Suicide Grows

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June 5, 2015

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Californians Against Assisted Suicide Vows Continued Opposition to SB 128 As It Moves to the Assembly

Sacramento, CA – On a narrow vote, the California State Senate voted to move SB 128, a bill permitting doctor assisted suicide, forward to the State Assembly. The legislation faced stiff opposition from both Democratic and Republican members of the Senate. 

“Unfortunately, this vote sends the message to patients like me that suicide is the preferred option. I have a great family and strong community support, but I can’t imagine how people facing a life-limiting diagnosis will hear this message from the State Senate,” noted opponent Stephanie Packer, a Southern California 32-year old mother of 4 who was given a terminal diagnosis. 

One of the leaders from the disability rights community advocating against assisted suicide is Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. “We recognize that opposing assisted suicide has never been a partisan issue and have always known this legislative battle in California would be a long one. This bill is simply about protecting doctors and HMOs from liability and tellspeople with disabilities who face a terminal diagnosis, that may well prove inaccurate, that there is no dignity in our lives. Assisted suicide is dangerous and we are going to bring that message loud and clear to every member of the State Assembly and the Governor.”

Senate Bill 128 remains opposed by a broad group of organizations including the Association of Northern California Oncologists, Disability Rights California, the California Foundation for Independent Living, the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California, the Alliance of Catholic Healthcare, the California Disability Alliance, The Arc of California and dozens of others.

Similar bills have already been defeated or tabled this year in states like Connecticut, Delaware and Colorado.  New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan (D) vetoed a bill Tuesday for an assisted suicide study committee on the issue, writing that she believed “... the goals of this bill begin to take New Hampshire down a precarious path.” The New Jersey State Assembly moved a bill on assisted suicide last year to the State Senate; that bill has also received significant opposition and has drawn concerns from Governor Christie.