Alex SchadenbergExecutive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
California assisted suicide bill SB 128 has died a peaceful death in the California House after Democrat legislators opposed it based on opposition from the disability community and the Latino community.
The assisted suicide lobby has organized more than 25 attempts to legalize assisted suicide in States this year with all of them failing. These campaigns were financed with the money raised by the assisted suicide lobby through the Brittany Maynard assisted suicide campaign last year.
Reuters news reported that Democratic Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, who is on the health committee, said his opposition stemmed from his background in healthcare.
To me it's not what healthcare is about
For me to go back on everything I've done and give that option, so to speak, is something I'm not comfortable with.
Disability rights advocates united in opposition to SB 128. Anthony Orefice is one of many disability rights activists who are speaking up against the California assisted suicide bill. He and others are concerned that:
depression and incorrect prognoses may lead people with serious disabilities to end their lives prematurely.
Marilyn Golden, the senior policy analyst at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, argues that the assisted suicide bill poses "considerable dangers" to people with new disabilities who may have suicidal thoughts. Golden states that:
many people who initially received terminal diagnoses have "lived full lives (for) years or even decades" longer than expected.
Deborah Doctor, a legislative advocate for Disability Rights California, wrote in a letter to State Senator Lois Wolk:
disabled people are vulnerable to abuse and could be coerced by family members not acting in the patients' best interests. Relatives, she said, could put pressure on people to take life-ending medication.
"Our responsibility is to think of people who are the most vulnerable to coercion, abuse and pressure."
The assisted suicide lobby will continue to push to legalize doctors having the right in law to prescribe lethal drugs for suicide.
California is one more example of what happens when legislators are given the opportunity to learn how legalizing assisted suicide effects people with disabilities and society in general.