The vote in the California Senate this Thursday to allow terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the right to obtain a prescription medication to hasten their death is only about 48 hours away. Our political arm, Death with Dignity Political Fund, has been integral in drafting, promoting, and supporting Senate Bill 128 – End of Life Option Act, according to our Executive Director Peg Sandeen. “We are pleased to see our work culminate in this historic vote on the floor of the California State Senate, a monumental step toward providing Death with Dignity as as end-of-life option for qualified Californians.”
One such state resident, retired San Diego-area community college instructor, Steve Mione, said, “I have terminal melanoma, and when it moves to Stage 4 and I will have less than 6 months to live, I will want the option to choose Death with Dignity. I want to be alert, to say goodbye to my loved ones and to fall asleep and die peacefully. It’s my right, knowing my death is imminent, to choose a merciful death. No legislator or other human being should deny it to me.”
Providing peace of mind and control for the terminally ill while safeguarding against coercion for those who are vulnerable, SB 128 is closely modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Our Vice President George Eighmey said, “The Oregon law has been implemented carefully and worked exactly as intended for 18 years.”
Following a lengthy, four-month process, involving three emotional Committee hearings and a vigorous public debate, the June 4 vote comes on the heels of the decision by the California Medical Association to drop its opposition to physician-assisted dying and change its stance on the bill to neutral. The CMA acknowledged the primacy of physician-patient relationship in healthcare decisions.
“The End of Life Option Act is designed to give patients more options at the end of life and to uphold the integrity of the patient-physician relationship,” confirmed Sandeen, applauding the bill’s sponsors, Senators Wolk and Monning. “Polls show overwhelming—and growing—support for physician-hastened dying. The time is right for California to adopt this law.”
Mione concurred, saying, “I urge the California Legislature to pass the End of Life Option Act.”
Image by Brian Wilkins
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