Hospitals Move against Assisted Suicide in California
Our victory this past legislative session was far from the end of the battle against this dangerous policy, but it’s a battle that shows continued signs of success. While California has voted to permit assisted suicide as of June 9, 2016, a number of hospitals across the state have pro-actively decided to opt-out and not prescribe the life-ending drugs to their patients.
California lawmakers finalized the End of Life Option Act last October. It gives terminally ill patients with less than six months to live the ability to request life-ending drugs from doctors. Hospitals and individual doctors have the option to opt-out.
Three hospitals in Palm Springs have opted out as well as the Eisenhower Medical Center. Management of the Huntington Hospital in Pasadena has also decided not to provide life ending drugs to terminal patients.
Some of the biggest names in medicine across California, including Kaiser Permanente, UCLA and Sutter Health have maintained that they will comply with the new law as an institution, yet will respect the right of individual doctors to opt-out.
With so many doctors and hospitals expressing their concerns about the new law and its implementation, we must remember the issues that will continue to be imperative in the fight against right to die legislation in Maryland and across the country.
Doctors have raised concerns about abuse, and Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst with the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, states that it would be “impossible to know, for example, if a depressed patient went to many doctors — who all denied the request for lethal medication — before finding one who agreed to write the prescription.”
Golden’s concerns highlight some of the issues with the “lethal logic” that these laws promote, and we must continue to fight against this legislation in order to prevent the undermining of medicine and medical professionals.
We know the proponents are relentless and will stop at nothing to try and pass this dangerous legislation across the country. We look forward to our continued work together to stop this bill in Maryland when it comes back in 2017.
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