California Assisted Suicide Law is Denounced by Leading Disability Rights Policy Center

The following media release was originally sent out on June 7, 2016.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marilyn Golden, 
Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF)
(510) 549-9339  mgolden@dredf.org

DREDF.jpg

Announces national web resource for reporting abuses and other problems

Berkeley, CA – June 7, 2016 – The Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, a leading national disability rights law and policy center based in Berkeley, California, denounces the enactment of California’s End of Life Option Act, which goes into effect on June 9.

DREDF is pleased to announce, along with our coalition partners in Californians Against Assisted Suicide, that this week, the national organization Patients Rights Action Fund will launch a new web page where concerned individuals, family members, and friends can bring to light abuses, problems, and complications associated with assisted suicide laws. The new online resource is located athttp://patientsrightsaction.org/stories.

California’s assisted suicide law, which is modeled on Oregon’s law, is marked by extraordinarily weak safeguards and oversight, posing great danger to many Californians with disabilities. as well as people with chronic and terminal illnesses, lower-income Californians, and to the general public.

Link to the full article

California assisted suicide law is challenged in court

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The California assisted suicide law came into effect on June 9. Based on the 15 day waiting period, the earliest possible death is June 24. The Coalition Against Assisted Suicide has launched a legal case and have asked for an injunction stating that the California assisted suicide law violates the equal protection Act

The Jurist reported on the case with the following:

A group of five doctors and the American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME) [advocacy website] filed suit [application, PDF] Wednesday challenging a physician-assisted suicide law. The End of Life Option Act would allow "terminally-ill" patients, an individual who, determined within reasonable medical certainty, is going to die in 60 days due to an incurable disease, to be given a prescription for a lethal dose of "aid-in-dying" drugs. Those challenging the legislation argue that, "[t]he Act violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the California Constitution in that it fails to make rational distinctions between ['terminally ill' citizens] , and the vast majority of Californians not covered by the Act." They argue that the term "terminally ill" is unconstitutionally vague and for that reason the law would "deprive individuals the protection of previously-existing California laws against assisted suicide by unconstitutionally creating a class of persons again based on arbitrary, unreasonable, and irrational distinctions." Finally, they argue that the legislature lacked constitutional authority to legislate on the matter of physician-assisted suicide during an extraordinary legislative session.

Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a diverse, broad-based coalition of disability rights organizations, physicians, medical groups, palliative and hospice care specialists as well as faith-based organizations.

Shakira Hussein: Why I don't support euthanasia (and you shouldn't either)

This article was published by Hope Australia on May 19, 2016

By Paul Russell

Paul Russell

Paul Russell

The Victorian Parliament's Committee looking into end-of-life issues is due to table a report into its 10 month investigation at the end of this month. Time will tell whether or not they have given appropriate weight to the many excellent submissions from professionals and professional organisations working in palliative medicine. I have my doubts.

Recent press from Victoria suggests that the report will recommend some form of 'assisted dying', whatever that means.

Melbourne academic and commentator, Shakira Hussein, in a recent article at Crikey.com notes the momentum behind the push for law change including media focus on particular cases and, of course, the podcast series and other media appearances by journalist, Andrew Denton.

Of these interventions, she observes that, 'they received a sympathetic response from many who fulminated about right-wing religious politicians refusing to allow patients to choose the time and manner of their deaths. And it’s an issue that is gaining momentum' adding that it, 'is widely supported by many who would consider themselves to be broadly left-wing and/or feminist. Yet I would argue that this constituency ought to be very wary of the attitudes and assumptions underlying legalised euthanasia.'

Hussein bursts the bubble of euthanasia mythology that would have us believe that opposition is the sole preserve of the right of politics. There are legitimate arguments and reasons for not supporting euthanasia and assisted suicide from across the full spectrum on political thinking; reasoning that is accessible to anyone with a mind to think beyond the sloganeering.

Link to the full article

California Hospital says 'NO' to Assisted Suicide.

This article was originally published by Wesley Smith on his blog on May 6.

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

By Wesley Smith

In California, it is a time of choosing for individuals, families, and the medical sector.

Will doctors prescribe poison to their terminally ill patients, if asked? Will hospitals allow patients to commit suicides on premises?

If asked, will people attend the suicides of their ill loved ones, thus validating their worst fears and becoming morally complicit by their own participation? I have urged an across-the-board policy of “total non-cooperation.” Assisted suicide may be legal, but no one can (yet) be made to participate in it.

Now, a courageous hospital appears on the verge of declaring itself an assisted suicide free zone. From the LA Times story:

Medical leaders at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena voted behind closed doors this week for the facility’s hundreds of doctors and affiliated personnel to opt out of California’s assisted suicide law, which goes into effect June 9. 
If the proposed amendment to the hospital’s medical rules is approved by the board of directors this month, Huntington will become one of the largest non-religious medical institutions statewide to turn its back on a law that Gov. Jerry Brown called “a comfort” to anyone “dying in prolonged and excruciating pain.”

Did you catch the columnist’s bias? Data from Oregon, Washington, Netherlands, Belgium, etc., all show that people do not commit assisted suicide due to “prolonged and excruciating pain,” but existential fears about being a burden, losing dignity, etc.

These are crucial issues that demand a compassionate, suicide prevention response from caregivers, cruelly denied to most patients who ask for assisted suicide. 

More to the point of total non-cooperation: Assisted suicide isn’t just about the patient who wants to die.

• It is about our individual and collective response to their despair. 
• It is about the adverse impact on culture and our view of the importance of human life, reflected in the fall off the vertical moral cliff seen in Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. 
• It is about the impact on other seriously ill patients, struggling with existential terrors who could be dragged down by the suicide taking place down the hall or across the street. 
• It is about whether we will surrender to the culture of death or peacefully resist with every ounce of our being.

The culture of death brooks no dissent. This column is intended to ratchet up the pressure on the hospital–because it is secular–to yield to the suicide agenda.

I just hope its board of directors will stay true to medicine’s Hippocratic calling and keep their nerve. Just because something is legal, that doesn’t make it right.

Declare Total Non-Cooperation With Assisted Suicide

The article was published by First Things on April 29, 2016.

By Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

Wesley Smith

I recently gave a speech to a group of conservative senior citizens in California, arguing against assisted suicide, which is due to become legal there in June. Assisted suicide is not an issue that allows for fence-sitting, so although I expected (and received) a friendly reception for the most part, I knew that at least a few people would use the Q & A to tell me that I was full of beans.

Sure enough. “You have made a cogent and reasoned presentation, Mr. Smith,” one of the first questioners told me, his voice rising in anger as he spoke. “But if I want to die, I want to be able to die, and I don’t want my family or me stigmatized by people saying I committed suicide!” In other words, nothing that I said mattered. The man was set in his opinion, and neither the facts about euthanasia practice nor the need for accurate terminology regarding self-killing would change that.

And so it went. Those who agreed with me—the majority of this particular audience—spoke of how their vulnerable loved ones would be endangered by the law, while the law’s supporters mostly made angry assertions about their right to die. Dialogue? What’s dialogue?

Link to the full article

Assisted suicide ballot measure introduced in Colorado. We must protect people from assisted suicide

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Recently I wrote an article about the successes in defeating assisted suicide bills in America. Since publisheding the article the Minnesota assisted suicide bill was stopped when its sponsor "pulled the bill" due to insufficient support.

Considering the success in defeating bills that give doctors the right to prescribe suicide to their patients, the suicide lobby has been relentless in pushing their death ideology.

For instance, this year in Colorado, a Senate Committee defeated the assisted suicide bill on February 3, on February 4, then the House Judiciary Committee passed the assisted suicide bill (6 - 5) and on February 24, the sponsors "pulled the bill" because it lacked support.

Now the suicide lobby has introduced a Colorado ballot measure titled: "End of Life Options" for the November 2016 election. The suicide lobby will require almost 99,000 signatures to have this dangerous measure put on the ballot.

At the same time, the sponsor of the California assisted suicide bill, which does not become law until June 9, have introduced two bills to promote assisted suicide in California. The first bill would establish a toll free death line, while the second bill would require the state health plan to pay for assisted suicide.

Assisted suicide bills in New York and the District of Columbia remain as clear threats. While I whole heartedly thank the many concerned people who stopped the suicide lobby in their states, I recognize that we will need to be as relentless as the suicide lobby. 

Even though the suicide lobby were defeated in Colorado, they are now bi-passing the legislative process with a ballot measure. 

We need to be vocal about the dangers of assisted suicide and how giving doctors the right to prescribe suicide to their patients devalues the lives of people at a vulnerable time of their life.

We must protect people from assisted suicide, the future of our culture depends on it.

Action Alert! Two California Bills Promoting Assisted Suicide

Coalition Against Assisted Suicide

ACTION ALERT! 
Two Bad California Bills Peddling Physician Assisted Suicide
Letters and Calls are needed now
SB 1002 - Gov't "advice" bill

State Senator Bill Monning, author of California's attempt to legalize assisted suicide, has submitted a bill to elicit government involvement and promotion of physician assisted suicide. Mr. Monning and the Hemlock Society (now 'Compassion and Choices') have neglected to mention that the controversial assisted suicide law is not in effect, and is not assured of going into effect! It is still subject to judicial scrutiny.

Nevertheless, Monning and the Hemlock promoters are recruiting state agencies to promote and engender assisted suicide in California.

Monning's new bill, SB 1002, would change the California Health and Safety Code, requiring the State Health Department to establish a toll-free phone line to answer questions about physician assisted suicide (PAS). Any interested party, perhaps an impatient heir, can inquire about obtaining, preparing and aiding another person in using the deadly prescription. SB 1002 presents a confused government policy that would accept both anti-suicide and pro-suicide hot lines.

IMPORTANT TO NOTE
Contrary to pro-euthanasia puff-pieces, the so-called 'Aid-in-Dying Law' did not change California law regarding assisted suicide, and even under the wording of that law, the assisted suicide regulations of California remain on the books. (Penal code Sec. 401) 

Link to the full article