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Assisted Suicide Bill Passes in California Senate

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A highly controversial California State Senate bill that would allow doctors to provide lethal, life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients with less than six months to live passed in a 23-14 vote on Thursday.

The right-to-die legislation, SB 128 authored by Sens. Lois Wok (D-Davis) and Bill Monning (D-Carmel), passed despite major objections from nine Republicans who believe it devalues life and puts the elderly and those with high medical expenses at risk for early death.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Sens. Sharon Runner (R-Lancaster) and Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) opened up about their personal struggles with suicidal thoughts during their own medical crises but are alive and active today because they didn’t give in. They asked their colleagues not to give sick people a reason to give up hope.

Legislation for assisted suicide failed in California back in 2007 as a result of major objections from Catholic groups, disability rights groups and many in the medical profession. However, a major road block to SB 128 was lifted recently when the California Medical Association withdrew its opposition to the bill.

A provision in the bill would allow for physicians with moral objections to the practice to opt out, notes the Bee.

The late Brittany Maynard, 29, who died after she received a lethal injection in Oregon this past November, became the face of the bill. On Thursday, her mother and widowed husband were both present in the Senate chambers. holding her picture up.

SB 128 will soon head to the Assembly. If approved, it will require the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown, who has yet to provide his feedback on the bill. Brown had at one point in his life considered becoming a Jesuit priest.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz


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