Ramin Rahimian/NY TIMES
Debbie Ziegler and her husband, Gary Holmes, displaying a picture of her daughter, Brittany Maynard, who died with a doctor’s help in Oregon
In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave its final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.
Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23 to 14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it…
The California bill is modeled on the law in Oregon, with several notable changes. The California law would expire after 10 years and have to be reapproved, and doctors would have to consult in private with the patient desiring to die, as part of an effort to ensure that no one would be coerced to end his or her life — a primary concern for opponents of the law.
Leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point.
“It allows for individual liberty and freedom, freedom of choice,” said Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco who compared the issue to gay marriage…
More than half the states, plus Washington, D.C., have put forward bills this year to legalize some kind of assisted suicide, according to the Death With Dignity National Center, which is based in Portland, Ore. So far, none of them have become law.
“If it becomes the law in California, that’s going to be very, very significant nationally,” said George Eighmey, vice president of Death With Dignity and a former state legislator in Oregon…
Until after a Supreme Court ruling in 2006 threw out a Justice Department effort to block Oregon’s law, no other state permitted assisted suicide. Washington adopted its measure in 2008. Several northern European countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden, also allow assisted suicide…
But this year in California, the aid-in-dying movement, as advocates prefer to call it, had a public face: Brittany Maynard, a Bay Area woman who received a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer and moved with her family to Oregon last year so she could end her life on her own terms. Ms. Maynard, who died in November at 29, drew nationwide news media attention for her crusade to die legally under conditions of her own choosing. Her family has since been involved in lobbying for the California bill…
…Mr. Brown has been silent about his position on the bill…backers of the bill have discussed bringing the issue to the voters through a ballot measure if Mr. Brown vetoes it. A Gallup poll this year found that nearly 70 percent of Americans support physician-assisted suicide, up 10 percentage points from last year.
Democracy – especially on questions which further free individual liberties – scares the crap out of most establishment politicians. I doubt Brown wants a referendum this popular on his watch.
Here in New Mexico, our courts ruled that we already have the right to assistance from our physicians should we choose to end our lives. I don’t recall whether or not a medical reason, terminal illness, is suggested as necessary; but, affirmation was put on hold when the Democrats in their infinite wisdom chose a candidate for governor because – it was his turn. One of those generational things, an old political family candidate picked to carry on the torch of familiarity.
Gary King was attorney-general when the court decision rolled in; so, in a transparent attempt to curry favor with conservative voters and the Catholic Church, he appealed the court’s ruling to the state Supreme Court. That hasn’t yet been decided. And it didn’t help him to get elected, anyway.
UPDATE: NM Appeal was decided ab’t 4 weeks ago – and overruled the original decision. Back to the Roundhouse, now, and our “courageous” legislators.
Thanks for the update nudge to https://drugsandotherthings.wordpress.com