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    Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a coalition of disability rights, healthcare, civil rights and patient advocacy organizations dedicated to preventing legalization of doctor assisted suicide in California.

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La mujer hispana, que sufre de una enfermedad terminal, se opone por cuestiones de respeto a los derechos humanos

Los Ángeles.- Una mujer hispana diagnosticada con una enfermedad terminal y que ya ha superado el plazo de tres años de vida que los médicos le dieron en 2012 se ha unido a una campaña contra una ley que autorizaría el suicidio asistido en California.

Stephanie Packer, de 32 años, casada con un estadounidense y madre de cuatro hijos, fue diagnosticada en mayo de 2012 con esclerodermia, una enfermedad degenerativa y muy agresiva que endurece gradualmente los tejidos.Debido a complicaciones anteriores con infecciones pulmonares, la esclerodermia le agravó su situación al restar flexibilidad a sus pulmones en un proceso irreversible.“Mi enfermedad no me permite llevar suficiente aire a los pulmones, ni al cerebro ni a todo mi cuerpo”, explicó Packer en entrevista con Efe, en la que destacó que los tres años de vida que le dieron los especialistas se cumplieron este mayo.

Por ello, cuando supo de una propuesta de ley que se analiza en el Congreso de California que promueve el suicidio asistido con ayuda médica, decidió oponerse y contar su caso.“Fue inmediatamente cuando supe acerca del proyecto de ley que tuve la necesidad de empezar a hablar sobre mi caso y de mostrar que hay otras opciones”, explicó Packer.La propuesta de ley “Muerte con dignidad”, presentada en enero por los senadores demócratas Bill Monning de Carmel y Lois Wolk de Davis, busca permitir que los pacientes terminales que deseen poner fin a su vida, puedan tomar ellos mismos una medicación fatal recetada por un médico.

La propuesta de California sigue la misma línea de la ley vigente en Oregón, según destacaron los legisladores al anunciarla. Packer contactó a la Oficina de Vida, Justicia y Paz de la Arquidiócesis de Los Ángeles para compartir su historia y ayudar en una campaña para detener el proyecto de ley.

"Agradecemos a Stephanie y su familia por salir al frente y manifestarse valientemente contra una legislación dañina que desorienta a aquellos en sus últimas horas, para hacerles pensar que el suicidio es la única opción", dijo Kathleen Buckley Domingo, directora asociada de la oficina de la arquidiócesis.

Según Buckley Domingo, aunque se han presentado más de 100 proyectos de legislación sobre suicidio asistido en los últimos 20 años, solamente tres estados del país lo han aprobado como ley. En el caso de Oregón, tras la legalización del suicidio asistido se registró un incremento del 49 % en los suicidios de personas con enfermedades terminales, lo que es un 41 % más alto que el promedio nacional, destacó la activista provida.

La hispana afirmó que cuando una persona está en riesgo de cometer suicidio por motivos médicos "lo que hay que hacer es enviarla a un médico y no entregarle un arma".

"Si permitimos el suicidio asistido, le estamos diciendo a todos aquellos que son débiles, vulnerables o pobres que son una carga, y que sería mejor que simplemente se fueran", agregó Buckley Domingo.

Luis Alvarado, portavoz de la Coalición Californianos en Contra del Suicidio Asistido, igualmente destacó que en California en tres ocasiones anteriores se han presentado sin éxito proyectos de ley similares. Al referirse a la SB 128, Alvarado dijo a Efe que "tiene demasiadas aberturas por las cuales se puede abusar del proceso y hacer que las personas que se encuentran en una condición terminal puedan recibir un daño".

Esta coalición también considera que detrás del proyecto pueden estar los intereses económicos de los seguros de salud, pues es más económico ofrecerle a una persona una sobredosis de medicina para que se suicide que mantenerla con cuidado asistido durante meses.

En una decisión inesperada, este miércoles la Asociación Médica de California, que se había opuesto a medidas de este tipo, cambió la postura que han mantenido sobre este tema durante 30 años y se declaró neutral.

Por su parte, la hispana señaló que oponerse al suicidio asistido no es una cuestión de fe o de religión, sino de respeto a los derechos de las personas.

"Esta ley quiere presionarnos para que tomemos decisiones en contra de nuestra propia vida", concluyó Packer, madre de cuatro hijos, de 11, 10, 8 y 5 años.

 

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Laws that legalize physician-assisted suicide do not empower patients; they empower doctors. Such a law is now being considered in the Legislature. Senate Bill 128 would protect physicians who commit such a shameful violation of their duty to their patients, even as it endangers those very patients.

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Disability Rights California advocates, educates, investigates, and litigates to advance and protect the rights of Californians with disabilities. 

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Dr. Kheriaty is an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and director of the Program in Medical Ethics at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

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Statement of the Association of Northern California Oncologists and the Medical Oncology Association of Southern California Regarding CMA’s change of position on Senate Bill 128

 

“Despite the amendments agreed to by the CMA and the authors of Senate Bill 128, the two oncology associations in California remain opposed to SB128. No amendments can change the fact that ‘an act that directly causes the patient’s death’ is contrary to the role of the physician. 

 

For many practicing physicians, end of life issues are purely theoretical. For oncologists, it is an everyday part of their practice to assist the patient in a comfortable death, as many forms of Cancer are incurable. We feel that better palliative care efforts can improve end of life care when death is inevitable, without the guilt and ethical dilemma engendered by SB128.


As the physicians who will be most affected by SB 128, we continue to ask legislators to oppose this legislation.”

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For Immediate Release
May 20, 2015
Contact: 916.475.4900

Response to California Medical Association's following of the Oregon Medical Association's 1994 example in neutrality on assisted suicide
Opposition Statements by 35-year CMA member, Past Director of CA Dept of Rehabilitation, and a Psychiatrist/University Medical Ethics Director

For Immediate Release

May 20, 2015

Contact: 916.475.4900

Opposition Statements by 35-year CMA member, Past Director of CA Dept of Rehabilitation, and a Psychiatrist/University Medical Ethics Director

(Sacramento, CA) – Californians Against Assisted Suicide remains steadfast in its opposition to Senate Bill 128. A letter was sent to legislators last week that included groups such as the Association of Northern California Oncologists, Medical Oncologists Association of Southern California, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, The Arc, Independent Living Center of Southern California, Indepedent Living Center of Silicon Valley, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund and others opposing doctor-prescribed death - click here to view a copy of that letter.

The Oregon Medical Association similarly took a neutral position on the 1994 ballot measure to pass doctor-prescribed suicide. However in 1997, the Oregon Medical Association switched back to oppose and joined the campaign to overturn that recently passed Oregon law.

Statements by #NoOnSB128 Partners

Walter Newman, Jr., MD. Dr. Newman is a 35 year member of the California Medical Association and Family Physician in San Jose.
"The California Medical Association's change of position does not reflect the strong opposition to physician- prescribed suicide by many thousands of my colleagues throughout California. Senate Bill 128 flies in the face of the oath we took to safeguard the lives and welfare of our patients.

"The majority of my patients are farm workers. This bill will have a disproportionate and tragic impact on the low-income, immigrant, and disabled populations my colleagues and I serve. There is no right way to do a wrong thing."

Catherine Campisi PhD., past Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation appointed by Governor Gray Davis. She is also a long-time disability rights advocate.

“There are no amendments can fix a fundamentally bad public policy. Our coalition continues to oppose this deeply flawed legislation because of the dangers it poses to those living with disabilities or in vulnerable circumstances, particularly in a state as ethnically and economically diverse as California. Assisted suicide is inherently dangerous to those who are expensive to care for or who lack access to proper medical care, and rather than open up that pandora's box, we ought to be exploring how to expand hospice and palliative care to address the needs of those terminally ill. Assisted suicide and Senate Bill 128 are misguided efforts.”

Aaron Kheriaty MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Medical Ethics Program at the UC Irvine School of Medicine

"While these amendments certainly give more protections to doctors, they do very little for the patient and further erode the doctor patient relationship. Indeed, the amendments highlight a central problem with this legislation: these bills are designed primarily to protect the prescribing physician, rather than to protect the vulnerable patient.

"Looking at the Oregon experience with assisted suicide, we must consider how the legalization of assisted suicide attitude influences society. Suicide is now a public health crisis: according to the CDC suicide is currently the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults, and the 10th leading cause of death overall for adults. Since the law was passed in Oregon, overall suicide rates in that state are there now 35% higher than the national average."

For more information on Californians Against Assisted Suicide and its partners please visit: www.NoAssistedSuicideCA.org

 



Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a coalition of disability rights, healthcare, civil rights, patient advocacy and faith-based organizations dedicated to preventing legalization of doctor assisted suicide in California.

 

Published in Blog

For Immediate Release

May 18, 2015

Contact: 916.475.4900

Twitter: @NoSuicideCA 

Statement in Response to Today's New Lawsuit Filing By Suicide Proponents Compassion & Choices

Sacramento, CA - In response to the new assisted suicide legalization lawsuit filed today by Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society), Californians Against Assisted Suicide spokesperson Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for the Disability Rights Educational & Defense Fund issued the following statement:

"The question of assisted suicide policy needs to be considered in terms of how it impacts the broader society, particularly the most vulnerable, without economic means or health access, as well as people living with serious disabilities whose options are often diminished. These lawsuits and legislation like California Senate Bill 128 are not simply exercises in autonomy for such individuals.

"Hopefully our court system and legislators take into account the broader implications, particularly in a state as diverse as California. This latest effort does not change in the least the aggressive opposition from progressives like myself and a diverse range of organizations against assisted suicide."

For more information please go to: www.NoAssistedSuicideCA.org

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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
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  • Association of Northern California Oncologists (ANCO)
  • Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
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  • Berkeley Commission on Disability
  • California Catholic Conference
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  • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)
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  • California Right to Life Education Fund
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  • Catholics for the Common Good
  • Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID)
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  • Crusade for Life
  • De La Salle Institute
  • Disability Rights Center
  • Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
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  • Disability Section of the American Public Health Association
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  • Independent Living Center of Southern California (ILCSC)
  • Independent Living Resource Center San Francisco (ILRCSF)
  • Independent Living Services of Northern California (ILSNC)
  • International Life Services
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  • La Raza Roundtable of Santa Clara County
  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC)
  • Life Priority Network
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  • Medical Oncology Association of Southern California (MOASC)
  • National Council on Disability
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  • Oakland Mayors Commission on Human Relations
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  • 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
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  • The Oaks Group
  • West Coast Pro Life
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  • World Association of Persons with Disabilities (WAPD)