California Assembly to Consider Assisted Suicide Bill

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The California legislature is scheduled to consider the "Death With Dignity Act," a bill to legalize assisted suicide this week.

The state Assembly, which resumes is legislative session Monday, will consider a bill to authorize terminally ill adults who meet certain qualifications the ability to request "medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner."

Current California law allows individuals "of sound mind age 18 and over" the ability to "execute a declaration governing the withholding or withdrawal of life sustaining treatment."

Republican Assemblyman Dick Ackerman called the bill a "dangerous piece of legislation."

Also opposing the bill is Republican Assemblywoman Marilyn C. Brewer said such legislation puts too much power in the hands of people - power that belongs to God.

"The time of birth and the time of death is best left in God's hands," Brewer told "There is not much you could do to this bill to gain my support."

Ackerman said that because of the way California's assisted suicide bill is written, "it comes down harsher on the handicapped than non-handicapped people if you were not able to respond or sufficiently able to make your desires known, you would fit right into this bill and they could eliminate you."

This bill covers not only people who are able to think, but also those who are in a vegetative state and unable to think," Ackerman told "There are already sufficient ways to handle cases involving the terminally ill."

The bill would prohibit purchasing a life, health or accident insurance or annuity policy from being conditioned on or affected by a patient's request for assisted suicide. It also gives doctors immunity from civil or criminal liability "for participating in good faith compliance with the act."

"Death is a process. Those who are dying need to live out their life as God sees fit, not as we see fit," Brewer added.

Numerous phone calls by to the sponsors of the bill were not returned.