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A Push to Legalize Physician Assisted Suicide in CA?

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April 25, 2014

Recently, the SFWire, an online news service, ran a brief story about an "empowerment luncheon designed to raise funds and awareness for patients' rights and end-of-life decision making," hosted by Compassion & Choices, at theSt. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. Behind the slick presentation, however, lies a more ominous motive -- legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) in California

A decade ago, recognizing that those most likely to suffer from legalizing PAS are those who are poor, ethnic or disabled, a coalition formed to fight the effort - Californians Against Assisted Suicide. Members include disability rights advocates, medical professionals, religious organizations and various individuals. Together, the advocates and others were able to defeat proposed PAS legalization in California.

Formerly known as the Hemlock Society, Compassion & Choices has long advocated the legalization of "aid in dying,"---a euphemism for physician-assisted suicide. They sponsored an initiative in 1994, which was voted down, and three separate bills in the California Legislature in the early 2000s---all of which failed, due to the advocacy byCalifornians Against Assisted Suicide and others. Compassion & Choices is busy again in our state, having recently placed numerous op-eds on end-of-life stories, and as evidenced by this recent report, hosting glitzy fund-raisers.

For more information on Catholic teaching about end-of-life, visit the California Catholic Conference "Embracing Our Dying" webpage. For more information about the PAS legalization efforts and our resistance, visit the webpage for Californians Against Assisted Suicide.