Assisted suicide gets CA start date

assisted suicide 2Beginning June 9, at least some terminally ill Californians seeking to end their own lives will be able to do just that.

Because the law took effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourned, its special session pushed the start date into summer. “The California law will permit physicians to provide lethal prescriptions to mentally competent adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and face the expectation that they will die within six months,” as the Los Angeles Times reported.

After maintaining a long holding pattern, the patchwork of stakeholders involved in the change have shifted into action. “As the implementation date nears, medical groups, supporters, legislators and others are working to raise awareness of the new right-to-die law and ensure all terminally ill patients will have access to it,” CNN reported. “They are holding webinars, panels and town hall meetings, distributing information and setting up telephone lines.”

Substantial hurdles

Resistance to physician-assisted suicide has remained strong since legislation was first proposed, however. Combined with the relatively narrow tailoring of the law, crafted to achieve passage in Sacramento and adequate support statewide, “it still is unclear how the law will play out in California,” as Ben Rich, a bioethics professor emeritus at the UC Davis School of Medicine, told CNN. “He said he expects some health institutions to be supportive and others to be unsupportive, leading to inconsistency around the state,” the network noted.

As it stands, Californians trying to avail themselves of the new process will have a laborious road ahead. “In January the state published guidelines for how the lethal drugs can be prescribed and administered, establishing a lengthy process to ensure that patients are making informed decisions,” New York Magazine observed. “Any patient wishing to be prescribed lethal dosages have to make two verbal requests, 15 days apart, and one written request. He or she has to be at least 18 years old, and a physician has to rule out mental illness.”

A limited trend

Even with its hurdles, the change has been hailed as yet another of California’s supposed bellwether bills. But states that have followed California’s lead on other issues may not be ready this time. In Maryland, this month, similar legislation went down to defeat, following a broader pattern. “Maryland is one of 25 states, along with the District, that have introduced what advocates call ‘aid-in-dying’ legislation since the highly publicized suicide of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman who had terminal brain cancer and moved to Oregon in 2014 to legally end her life,” the Washington Post observed.

Kim Callinan, of assisted suicide group Compassion & Choices, told the Post it often “takes multiple times,” to make legislative headway. “In addition to California and Oregon, aid in dying is permitted, with varying restrictions, in Washington state, Vermont and Montana,” as the paper added.

Much comes down to the personal predilections of each state’s governor. Jerry Brown was seen to grapple with the philosophical precepts at stake in legalizing assisted suicide. “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” he revealed in his signing statement, as the Los Angeles Times relayed. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.” Despite broad American trends toward a more individualistic view of the meaning of life, few governors, even in states where evangelical Christianity and Catholicism have not often mobilized to sink legislation, share Gov. Brown’s unusually spiritual — but distinctively Californian — outlook.


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  1. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 March, 2016, 12:33

    Wow, need to help Teddy Steals out and have a partay on June 9, 1016~!!

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 18 March, 2016, 12:35

    All kidding aside, this is a very important law, and is a sign that at least CA can sometimes do something correct.

    Not often, but every now and then….

    Reply this comment
  3. Dude
    Dude 18 March, 2016, 17:51

    And at what point will this conversation turn into an insistence by the state/insurance companies that Gladys has lived long enough?

    Reply this comment
    • Bill G.
      Bill G. 18 March, 2016, 21:56

      Right. The nazis got started in their eugenics-based genocide by encouraging ‘humane’ assisted suicide….This is a very slippery slope, it will be greased by money….Everything the nazis did was ‘legal’…..

      Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 22 March, 2016, 11:56

      From what I’m hearing from friends with elderly parents, things are already headed in that direction. Apparently our medical system allows doctors to decide to withhold medical treatment of elderly people who are not on life-support but need an operation or medication to regain an achievable benefit. They are sort of cast-aside and unless eagle-eyed relatives notice this is going on (not always easy) the patient is going to suffer accordingly. That is one reason so many people are doped-up on medicines they don’t need and end up not knowing who they are or where they are. Plus the food they serve in hospitals and nursing homes is neither tasty nor nourishing, resulting in patients whose refusal to partake of such appalling fare they become very weak. Of course, the medical profession’s solution to this problem is to do more tests and prescribe medicine.
      Either all life is sacred or all life is expendable. There is no middle ground on this one.

      Reply this comment
  4. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 19 March, 2016, 08:37

    In california its now all rights to end your life while its a crime to harm a lizard or rodent and of course we have Hollywood and disneyland where most liberals hang out all summer long

    Reply this comment
  5. Standing Fast
    Standing Fast 21 March, 2016, 15:02

    I don’t think this is such a good law.
    It also seems weird to me because some years back I had a conversation with a physician who was running for public office (a Progressive). I asked him what he thought the purpose of his profession was and he said “to prolong life”. And, here I thought it was to heal the sick.
    Another weird thing, even before this bill was proposed, our current one-size-fits-all Universal Health Care and Insurance system has been putting health-care professionals in a position to “save money” by withholding needed treatment from elderly patients who are not terminally ill, just somewhere in their declining years. If the patient does not realize this, or have an alert and active family to look out for them, they are on death row. Consider just what kind of care they are likely to get from providers once that gets around.
    If you want to know where this law will take our State and the nation, just read your history. Nazi Germany would be a good place to start.
    There was a very long list of people who weren’t considered good enough to live. And you didn’t have to be Jewish, or Roman Catholic, or Gypsy, or mentally-retarded, or mentally-ill, or deformed, either. You could just be someone whose conscience wouldn’t allow you to oppose their policies.
    If this law is allowed to stand, a lot of people who support it now will, in time, come to wish they hadn’t.
    O the time, O the morals…

    Reply this comment
    • Standing Fast
      Standing Fast 21 March, 2016, 15:10

      Oops, I made some typos above. I should have said:

      “You could just be someone whose conscience wouldn’t allow you to be silent about their policies.
      O the times, O the morals…”

      Reply this comment
  6. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 21 March, 2016, 22:53

    Moonbeams your typical liberal pinhead you cant use guns in self defense but its all right to kill grandpa

    Reply this comment
  7. desmond
    desmond 28 March, 2016, 05:05

    Regarding medical murder law, don t be surprises if legislators slip exemptions in for themselves and fat retired cops. It does not bother me. When the carnivorous saber toothed alien invasion comes, simmering fat cops in a cauldron with onion, carrots, sprig of Rosemary, and two Bay leaves will be the thing on Tuesday nights.

    Reply this comment
  8. critter
    critter 28 March, 2016, 11:41

    lasse faire.. does anyone remember that?? keep your monster making policies away from the free people.. by doing your job in compliance with policies, youve become a monster.. Who is human enough to change the policy??

    Reply this comment

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