Advocates of end-of-life laws said in a news release Tuesday that legislation giving people the right to self-administer lethal drugs is pending in 15 states and Washington D.C.
A California bill introduced by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, is scheduled to be heard March 25 in a state Senate committee. The legislation would give California physicians authority to prescribe lethal drugs to the terminally ill, who would have to self-administer the medications.
The legislation is modeled after Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law, which Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old Bay Area woman, used to end her life, drawing worldwide attention and sparking efforts to expand such laws across the country.
“This tidal wave of action and bill introductions is a testament to our powerful partnership with Brittany Maynard’s family to fulfill her mission to make aid in dying an authorized medical option for dying adults throughout America,” Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, stated in the news release.
Religious organizations including the Catholic Church have lodged objections on spiritual grounds. Others express concerns that people who can’t afford health care will find what they call “physician-assisted suicide” an attractive option to end their suffering.
The proposed legislation in California would require two physicians to determine that a person has only six months to live and that the patient has the mental competency to request that their life be ended. The attending physician must discuss alternatives with the patient, including palliative or hospice care.
The law mirrors Oregon’s with a few exceptions, including that pharmacists, as well as physicians, are given legal immunity for participating in the deaths.
You can reach Staff Writer Derek Moore at 521-5336 or email@example.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek.