The “End of Life Option Act” Introduced in the California Senate

Today California Senate Bill SB 128 was introduced.  It is described in the press as being comparable to Oregon’s law. 

Its status can be followed here.  Apparently (I am betraying my weak knowledge of the civics of my home state here) it is first referred to the California Senate Rules Committee for committee assignment.   

I have just downloaded the text and have not studied it in detail.  Frankly, given what I have been writing about physician-assisted suicide, I don’t think I will find any surprises in it.  But I will track it and report further on it in upcoming posts.

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Barry Orvell, MDSteve PhillipsMark McQuain Recent comment authors
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Mark McQuain
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Mark McQuain

I am reading your link to the bill as I write this. One curious requirement in the bill is the following:

” 443.7 (b) The cause of death listed on an individual’s death certificate who uses aid-in-dying medication shall be the underlying terminal illness. ”

The cause of death in these cases clearly cannot be the underlying illness. Had the underlying disease in fact actually caused the death, the legislation would be unnecessary in the first place.

Steve Phillips
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The writers of this bill are intentionally creating a legal fiction so that a self-administered death is treated as if it were a natural death. They are saying that this act is the moral and legal equivalent of forgoing potentially life-sustaining treatment and dying of the effects of a terminal disease. That is also why they call this act aid in dying rather than assisted suicide which it clearly is. It seems quite clear to me that intentionally ending one’s own life with a lethal prescription is a very different act than withdrawing or withholding life-sustaining treatment in a terminally… Read more »

Barry Orvell, MD
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Barry Orvell, MD

If the cause of death is suicide there is a problem for life insurance payments. In such a case the survivors suffer.

Also,” suicide” carries a stigma that can haunt the offspring for generations.

Barry Orvell, MD
Guest
Barry Orvell, MD

If the cause of death is suicide there is a problem for life insurance payments. In such a case the survivors suffer.

Also,” suicide” carries a stigma that can haunt the offspring for generations.