Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Well-funded out-of-state group is pushing assisted suicide in California

An out-of-state special interest group has once again moved into California seeking to push assisted suicide legislation. Despite failed legislative efforts this year in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts, Compassion & Choices, formerly the Hemlock Society, began a roll-out of online advertisements aimed directly at Californians. This same group sponsored California legislation in 1999, 2005 and 2007 which were all defeated with bipartisan opposition. 

Assisted suicide has long been opposed by disability rights organization across California and nationally. 
"If calculating dollars and cents, it does not take an economist to realize the frightening prospect that assisted suicide is for people living with a disability or serious illness; we are the logical target," said Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. "Assisted suicide is not progressive, in fact it puts many vulnerable people at risk; and we have already seen examples of that where it is legal."
Catherine Campisi, former California Department of Rehabilitation Director, wrote to the California Assembly Committee last year,  "...Assisted suicide legalization is a direct threat to anyone viewed as a significant cost liability to public or private healthcare providers."

The pro-assisted suicide organization Compassion and Choices was known formerly as the Hemlock Society is based in Oregon. The organization's president, Barbara Coombs Lee is a former HMO executive. According to the Hartford Courant newspaper, Compassion and Choices recently spent $190,000 on advertising and lobbying efforts for a failed effort in the Connecticut General Assembly. The Connecticut General Assembly is comprised of a House of Representatives (97 Democrats and 53 Republicans) and Senate (22 Democrats and 14 Republicans). 

Since 2005, Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a diverse, broad-based coalition working against assisted suicide legalization in California. The coalition is comprised of organizations including those representing disability rights, independent living, healthcare, faith-based, social justice, civil rights and medical professionals. 

For more information on Californians Against Assisted Suicide, please visit our website at: www.NoAssistedSuicideCA.org


Jonathan Feinberg, MD said...

Your group deliberately mischaracterizes the values and goals of Compassion and Choices. I am a Family Physician and have been a volunteer with that group for several years. We do not condone or abet "suicide," which implies an individual who has a meaningful future trying to end his or her life.

Compassion and Choices' goal is to provide another option for death with dignity to an individual who would want to live but who has a disease that will inexorably, often painfully, kill him within the next 6 months. We advocate not "Physician Assisted Suicide," but "Physician Aid in Dying."

Aid throughout a patient's lifespan is what physicians do and takes many forms. We do not abandon our patients at the time of their greatest existential need when conventional therapies can no longer be effective. Aid in dying is a legitimate medical intervention and professional service which should be available in certain circumstances.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Your group loves to play language games. When you intentionally provide a lethal dose to someone who is suicidal it is assisted suicide.

People ask for assisted suicide for many reasons, including depression.

Read the following articles.