Will California Governor Veto Physician Assisted Suicide Bill?

by Christopher White, CBC Director of Research and Education on October 5, 2015

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California Assembly Bill ABX2-15 is now on Governor Jerry Brown’s desk and he has until this Wednesday, October 7th, to decide whether or not he will veto it. If he does nothing, the bill will become law–forever corrupting the medical profession in his state.

But it’s not just his state that will be affected by such a law. As our friends at Not Dead Yet have argued, such a bill is “discriminatory and dangerous.”

How is this bill discriminatory, you may ask? For starters, it places the elderly and the disabled at an extreme disadvantage—effectively rendering persons with disabilities as liabilities. Insurance companies will very quickly mandate physician assisted suicide as a form of “treatment” for such persons rather than providing them with access to health care that could possibly extend and improve their lives.

The bill, which is modeled after similar legislation in Oregon, fails to adequately account for the mental and psychological needs of patients. As the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), which opposes the bill, notes:

In 2013, only two of the 71 Oregonians who died from physician- assisted suicide were even referred for formal psychiatric or psychological evaluation. It is unthinkable that a doctor would respond similarly to patients without disabilities expressing suicidal feelings in the face of serious life stress.

If this bill becomes law, California will become the fifth state in the United States to legalize the practice—but it will now mean that one-quarter of the population of the United States lives in areas where the practice is legal. It’s a dangerous precedent.

The Declaration of Rights of the California constitution bind the state to laws that are necessary for “defending life.” This bill makes the state complicit in a practice that does the very opposite. Governor Brown is duty bound to veto this bill and anything less would be failure to uphold his constitutional duties and a commitment to the best interests of the citizens of his state—and beyond.

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