Wednesday, July 13, 2022

California 2021 assisted suicide report. 486 "reported" deaths.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.

The 2021 California assisted suicide report indicates that there were 486 reported assisted suicide deaths and 772 lethal cocktail prescriptions written. The report also states that 130 people who were approved for assisted suicide died from their underlying illness or other causes and 194 people received a lethal drug cocktail but their ingestion status is unknown.

When the ingestion status is unknown, the California Department of Public Health knows that the person received a lethal drug cocktail but they do not know whether or not the person died by assisted suicide.

The 2020 California assisted suicide report stated that there were 435 reported assisted suicide deaths with 164 people whose ingestion status was unknown. The 2021 California assisted suicide report amended the 2020 data stating that there were 495 reported assisted suicide deaths up from 435 in 2020. Last year I estimated that the actual number of assisted suicide deaths may be 500. I was close. In 2020 at least 60 of the 164 people whose ingestion status was unknown, died by assisted suicide.

How many of the 194 people whose ingestion status is unknown in 2021 died by assisted suicide? I estimate that next years report will state that there were 550 reported assisted suicide deaths.

Under-reporting and abuse of the law is covered-up by the reporting system. The California assisted suicide data comes from the reports submitted by the assisted suicide doctors. Since this is a self-reporting system, it is impossible to know when a doctor does not send in a report or abuses the law.

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The data indicates that of the 486 reported assisted suicide deaths, 416 (85.6%) were white, 34 (7%) were Asian, 25 (5.1%) were Hispanic and 4 (.8%) were Black. 

The 2020 California population census indicates that: 39% are Hispanic, 35% are White, 15% are Asian and 5% are Black.

Clearly, assisted suicide is an issue of white privilege.

In 2021 California legislators expanded the assisted suicide law by passing Bill SB 380 which:

  • Reduced the mandatory 15-day waiting period between the two oral requests to 48 hours. 
  • Forced doctors who oppose assisted suicide to refer the person who requests assisted suicide.  
  • Eliminated the original law’s sunset clause, which eliminated the requirement to review the law.

In response to passing of Bill SB 380, a group of California Doctors who oppose assisted suicide have launched a court case to protect their conscience rights (Link to article). The conscience rights case has yet to be heard.

Recently a California federal judge rejected a case designed to permit euthanasia within California's assisted suicide act (Link to article). Dr Lonny Shavelson, who solely focuses on assisted suicide, and Sandra Morris, who lives with ALS, argued that the state's assisted suicide law discriminated against people who had difficulty self-ingesting the lethal assisted suicide drugs and to remedy the situation the state needed to permit euthanasia (lethal injection) in those cases. (Link to the decision)

Justice Chhabria rejected Shavelson's challenge to the law stating that permitting euthanasia was not an extension to the current law but rather it would fundamentally alter the law (Link to article).


dougsned said...

Good on them! Christianity is a cancer.

dougsned said...

Being debated in Massachusetts as well.