News of the Day ... in Perspective4/14/2005
California considers assisted-suicide bill
On April 12, the California Compassionate Choice Act (AB 654) cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a 5-4 vote. The bill is modeled on the Oregon assisted-suicide statute.
Mentally competent adults believed to have only six months to live could obtain fatal drugs after making two oral requests to his doctor, more than two weeks apart, in addition to a written request.
According to the Oregon health department, 208 people have died by assisted suicide. Dr. Kenneth Stevens, an Oregon cancer specialist, testified that he could find not a single case in which unrelieved pain was the reason for requesting the deadly drugs.
Assisted-suicide legislation is also being considered in Vermont, where hundreds turned out for testimony on the bill on April 12. Prospects for passage are believed to be slim this session (Burlington Free Press 4/13/05).