Friday, May 30, 2008

Euthanasia Bill passes California Assembly

Bill AB 2747 passed in the California Assembly by a vote of 42 to 34.

This bill is a thinly veiled attempt to remove opposition to euthanasia by omission in California and is promoted as a bill that promotes palliative care options and end-of-life care information.

Nobody opposes good palliative care initiatives and information, but this bill mandates that a person who is given a one year life-expectancy will be informed and given the medical support to be intentionally dehydrated to death by the means of terminal sedation and dehydration.

If a physician is morally opposed to terminally sedation and dehydration of a person who is not actively dying or experiencing uncontrolled physical pain (euthanasia by omission), that physician is mandated to refer the patient to a physician who is willing to intentionally dehydrate the patient.

Bill AB 2747 represents the new strategy for Compassion & Choices, the leading euthanasia lobby group in the US.

Compassion & Choices has worked tirelessly in the past few years to legalize assisted suicide in California without success.

By mandating that palliative care become abused by the promotion of terminal sedation and dehydration for those who are not actively dying or suffering uncontrolled pain, they will achieve a significant part of their final goal of legalizing euthanasia.

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To intentionally cause death by dehydration is not assisted suicide but rather euthanasia.

Assisted suicide means that a person knowingly provides the means for someone to kill themselves. Death by dehydration requires a direct and active involvement in the death of the person and not simply a provision of the means.

Bill AB 2747 is simply unnecessary. The use of terminal sedation for people who are actively dying or experiencing intractable pain is considered an ethical option by nearly everyone. Access to good palliative care information and services are not legislative issues but rather budgetary issues.

This bill is about mandating the right to die by dehydration for people who are not near to death and who are not suffering from intractable pain.

This means that people who want to legalize euthanasia are in fact settling for half of their final goal with the hope that once death by dehydration becomes a common procedure, people will then demand death by injection because it is in fact a more compassionate way to die.

Californians need to recognize what Bill AB 2747 represents and strenuously oppose it.

A similar bill is also being debated in Vermont.

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