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Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (Photo:Kevin Sanders for California Globe)

Sen. Eggman’s Legislation Removing Safeguards in California Assisted Suicide Law

The safeguards were needed to pass the original bill in 2015 now ‘unnecessary’

By Katy Grimes, July 6, 2021 12:33 pm

In 2015 when the California Legislature eventually passed AB2X-15, a controversial physician assisted suicide bill, many in opposition argued that passage of legalized physician-assisted suicide would provide perverse incentives for insurance carriers to choose the cheapest, quick fix option – particularly in publicly-funded healthcare.

Despite a tremendous amount of opposition and an unorthodox trip through the Legislature, Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law.

Modeled after the Oregon assisted suicide law, the California Legislature failed to pass the bill in Assembly Committees during the regular legislative session, and it died. But proponents of assisted suicide did a legislative end run around the appropriate process and resurrected the bill in a special session convened to address transportation and Medi-Cal budget issues.

The only way the bill passed was the compromise of a few restrictions: a Sunset date of 2025, and a 15-day waiting period to obtain a prescription of the lethal drug cocktail.

Tuesday, the bill’s author, Sen. Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was in the Assembly Judiciary Committee with another bill to toss out the sunset date, and lessen the two week waiting period to 2 days.

This is how lawmakers eventually get what they originally wanted out of the bill – they come back a few years later and remove the compromises and safeguards.

SB 380 will remove the protections in the original bill now deemed “unnecessary.” In testimony, Eggman said she was terming out and therefore wanted to get the safeguards removed from the law now.

But Eggman was met with resistance from Democrats on the Assembly Judiciary Committee Tuesday. Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes (D-San Bernardino) said her greatest concern with the bill is the reduced waiting time period from 15 days to 48 hours, and “removing the sunset is concerning.” Reyes added “the safeguards provided in the original bill provide enough opportunity to avail themselves of this option,” referring to the end of life physician assisted suicide option.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) also expressed concern with removing the safeguards. She said she’d like to see more information and data about how long people live who are considering assisted suicide from the terminal diagnosis.

Both Gomez Reyes and Gonzalez said they’d like to see more done to lessen pain and improve end of life care.

The bill faced strong opposition from the Catholic Church, disability rights groups, and other patients’ rights groups looking to protect elderly, and mentally and physically incapacitated patients.

Dan Okenfuss, Public Policy Manager at California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) testified in opposition to SB 380 warning that there was a “serious lack of data” from the 2015 law. “There’s no information about patients’ illnesses, no psychological evaluations, and no data when the patient ingests the drugs.” Okenfuss said it’s just too premature to consider removing the safeguards.

One of the issues that cropped up in 2015 were myths about assisted suicide in Oregon – that it is “highly regulated and has strong safeguards.” Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund said proponents gloss over the serious lack of safeguards in Oregon’s law. Minimal data collection and gross lack of strong oversight of assisted suicide undermines any pretense of rigorous monitoring or strict regulation, Golden says. Golden warned the “Death with Dignity Act” alleges to focus on patient autonomy and “choice,” but the focus instead should be on doing everything to improve care at the end of life. Golden said: “Don’t be seduced by rhetoric of choice for a few, into a dangerous policy change that will bring social injustice to many.”

Others expressed similar concerns in opposition to SB 380. Serena Alvarez representing LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens), the largest and oldest Hispanic membership organization in the country, said California is first in the nation for hospice fraud, and referenced a Los Angeles Times article that investigated. She also said the Latino community was being targeted. “Our families do not have health care,” Alvarez said. She said the Compassion and Choices website is even targeting Latinos.

Compassion and Choices ” (formerly the Hemlock Society) is a George Soros-funded pro-suicide-organization that has tried to convince lawmakers throughout the country it is a grassroots organization. Far from grassroots, the well-funded Compassion and Choices works to convince the sick and depressed that taking your own life is honorable, according to disability rights groups.

Ironically, Compassion and Choices website currently has a news article touting “Planned Parenthood of Illinois Board Member to Join Compassion & Choices Board.”

Compassion and Choices news headline. (Photo: screen capture, commpassionandchoices.org)

The Assembly Judiciary Committee bill analysis addressed the support of Compassion & Choices:

Compassion & Choices explains that existing law should be changed for several reasons: 1) greater transparency around the implementation of the California End of Life Option Act so that patients can make timely and informed decisions about their end-of-life care, while respecting the desire of providers to be able to opt out of participation; 2) the waiting period to be shortened so that it does not become an unnecessary suffering period; and 3) several small, but important changes to the law to improve access without compromising patient safety, such as clarifying the medical aid in dying may be self-administered in a healthcare facility.

In opposition in the bill analysis is Disability Rights California:

Disability Rights California focuses on two issues in its letter of opposition. First, it objects to the removal of the 15-day waiting period to obtain a prescription on the basis that, “Many people requesting assisted suicide have changed their minds—some living decades beyond their prognosis, having achieved a cure for the supposedly “terminal” illness.” Second, they object to the elimination of the final attestation, in which the patient affirms that they are voluntarily taking the lethal drugs at the time of ingestion. According to Disability Rights California, “This removal puts patient autonomy at risk, opening the door to abuse by greedy heirs or abusive caregivers. No reporting, no 3rd party witnesses at time of death make it so no one would ever know if the person changed their mind or if there was coercion.” They also add that, “It is premature and dangerous to make the End of Life Act permanent in the absence of data that would help us better understand the impact of assisted suicide on Californians.”

Be sure to read the Globe’s April article with then-Sen. Jeff Stone’s important 2015 testimony in opposition, as a practicing pharmacist. Stone reminded colleagues that suicide is not a crime. “Anyone in America can take their own life without government say-so.” He added, “We took the Hypocratic Oath,” Stone said. “We do not administer poisons.”

When the Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing ended, only two members of the committee voted in favor of passing SB 380 – not enough to pass. We will provide an update later when all votes are in.

Video of the hearing is HERE.

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12 thoughts on “Sen. Eggman’s Legislation Removing Safeguards in California Assisted Suicide Law

  1. Be sure to read the Globe’s April article with then-Sen. Jeff Stone’s important 2015 testimony in opposition, as a practicing pharmacist. Stone reminded colleagues that suicide is not a crime. “Anyone in America can take their own life without government say-so.” He added, “We took the Hypocratic Oath,” Stone said. “We do not administer poisons.”

    Let’s all be clear about what people like Eggman advocate with “assisted suicide”. It is NOT SUICIDE at all. It is EUTHANASIA or so-called “mercy killing”.

  2. In 2002, multiple doctors told me my chronic pain & inflammation condition was untreatable and permanent. They were wrong.

    Just sayin’.

    1. Yes, doctors are often wrong, and I’m so glad to hear they were wrong in your case.
      Hopelessness because of chronic pain is a terrible life sentence. This legislator and her friends want you to accept that sentence and have no hope. They have no idea what they are talking about. Or maybe they do know and they are just plain evil.

  3. Oh, interesting, George Soros’ name pops up again even though he is trying to hide himself as usual.
    SO sorry, but if the powers-that-be in any facility —- whether it’s a doctor’s office prescribing, a pharmacy dispensing, or a private hospital overseeing both and then cleaning up the mess — somehow manage to murder me using the euphemism “assisted suicide,” it’s on THEM.
    That this legislature should come anywhere near legalizing such an act is sick, was sick, continues to be sick, and nothing can change that, no matter how much they try to mainstream the act of murdering people. But what do you expect from the usual suspects in today’s California mega-majority Dem legislature? They’re NOTHING if not all about their best friend DEATH. Outrageous.

  4. [“Compassion and Choices ” (formerly the Hemlock Society) is a George Soros-funded pro-suicide-organization that has tried to convince lawmakers throughout the country it is a grassroots organization. Far from grassroots, the well-funded Compassion and Choices works to convince the sick and depressed that taking your own life is honorable, according to disability rights groups]

    I suggest Soros take his own advice from his cherished organization and do the honorable thing. He has inflicted great pain in this country. Convincing sick people they should take their own life is a grave sin. The real reason they suggest this is population control.
    He and his cronies think the world would be a better place with less humans in it. Is that what is now considered COMPASSION?
    We have become a culture of death, whether it be abortion rights falsely framed as “family planning”, or now “right to die” sanctioned by the state.
    Senator Jeff Stone had it right!

  5. Yes! Him too!! Rahm Emmanuel’s big brother did advocate for that!
    Exzekiel must be approaching 70, I think he should lead by example!
    These people are mentally ill.

  6. “Compassion and Choices ” (formerly the Hemlock Society) is a George Soros-funded pro-suicide-organization that has tried to convince lawmakers throughout the country it is a grassroots organization. Far from grassroots, the well-funded Compassion and Choices works to convince the sick and depressed that taking your own life is honorable, according to disability rights groups.”

    Here we go again – the Democrat / Communist socialist “cult of death” rides again…

    Planned Parenthood, the KKK, now the “Compassion & Choices”, which conveniently OBFUSCATES what their REAL mission and intentions are with THAT re-branding just shows time after time that Democrats want to play God, control your life and focus on death in various ways and means…

    Rush was right about the mental disease…

  7. The eugenic euthanasia monopoly, whose business plan includes wind fall profits from illicit organ trafficking, deceptively
    markets aid in dying as peaceful.
    Specifically the death is not as peaceful as promoted. Induced premature deaths, including hastening death with “comfort “ care morphine, are neither peaceful nor rapid 25-72% of the time, quantified by a study by Bill Gallerizzo. In addition the drugs routinely used are the same drugs deemed to be undignified and cruel for death row.

    Then the claim of dignity is a smoke screen.
    The Oregon type death protocols are far from dignified. Being forced by the facilitators to a premature death after changing your mind is not dignified. By Oregon statistics 33% change their mind. Allowing greedy heirs to be facilitators undermines dignity. Prohibiting investigations and requiring falsified death certificates does not promote dignity and only encourages abuse.

    They also market the lie that “self administration“ is required only to deflect scrutiny, while never codifying that requirement….
    There are ten categories of wrongful deaths.. 
    A wrong diagnosis ..
    A wrong prognosis 
    Unaware of available treatments 
    Denied funding for medical treatment 
    Mentally ill at risk 
    Ableist judgement of “better off dead” 
    Bullying or coercion 
    Killed without request or while resisting 
    Social contagion of suicide 
    Not a rapid or peaceful death 

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