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Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Faces Next Hearing

Jimmy Emerson, DVM, flickr
 

Jimmy Emerson, DVM, flickr

The Assembly Health Committee is again scheduled to consider the End of Life Option Act. A previously scheduled hearing was delayed because the authors realized they didn't have the votes to pass the bill.

The Catholic Church and several disability rights groups oppose the measure, which would allow terminally ill patients to request medicine to end their lives.  Diane Coleman is with Not Dead Yet, which opposes physician-assisted suicide.

"There’s realities of elder abuse and what goes on behind closed doors with seniors and people with disabilities," she says. "You know not every family is loving. Many are, but not all. And we have to look at those realities when we think about making something like this a matter of public policy."

But the measure has many supporters. Among them is Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. She says her own mother struggled with cancer for five years.

"The final two weeks, I mean, she was in such pain," Atkins says. "And she was able to say once or twice, I don’t know why I am still here. Why is god letting me continue to be here? I’m ready to go. And that was the most excruciating thing to sit and hear someone you love say."

If the bill passes the health committee, it must still to pass in two more committees before it goes to the Assembly floor.