Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Passes California Senate

Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Passes California Senate

California’s Senate voted last week to approve the End of Life Option bill.

The bill will now head to the state Assembly for debate, while Gov. Jerry Brown hasn’t said whether he would sign the bill.

But some worry the bill could mean more suicides in the state if the bill is approved.

“Passing SB128 would dramatically increase California’s suicide rate,” said Wesley J. Smith, a senior fellow in human rights and bioethics at the Discovery Institute. 

“Last year, 105 Oregonians died by assisted suicide. California’s population is 10 times larger than Oregon’s (37.5 million versus only 3.8 million), meaning that perhaps 1,000 of us could die each year by doctor-prescribed death if the bill becomes law. If so, California’s suicide rate would increase from about 3,300 annually to 4,300, an upsurge of about one-third.”

However, supporters of the bill, argue that wouldn’t be the case. Supporters include the mother and widower of brain cancer victim Brittany Maynard, who moved to California to take lethal drugs and end her life.

“An end-of-life option law in California will not lead to more people dying,” Dan Diaz, Maynard’s widower, said after the vote. “It will lead to fewer people suffering.”

Under the proposed bill, two doctors must agree that the person has six months or less to live and is mentally competent. The cause of death would be ruled by the terminal illness and not suicide, according to Christianity Today.

In response, faith-based and other groups are working to voice opposition to the bill.

The California Assembly has until September to vote on the bill.

Publication date: June 10, 2015