Groups: Calif. Bills 'Squash' Moral Values, Religious Freedom

( [email protected] ) Oct 08, 2008 09:18 AM EDT

Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three bills last week that some conservatives say will squash moral values and religious freedom.

"Under these new laws, foster parents, nurses, doctors, health insurance plans, city and county commissions, and court-appointed children's advocates must abandon their moral, social or financial values at the altar of the homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda,” stated Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families, on Friday.

“This crate load of homosexual-bisexual-transsexual laws embodies the same intolerant spirit of the recent California Supreme Court ruling that trampled the religious freedom of doctors at the behest of homosexual 'rights,'" he added.

The contested bills include SB 1729, which requires physicians, surgeons, nurses and assistants working in skilled nursing or congregate living health facilities to participate in training programs focusing on sensitivity to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues; AB 3015, which requires foster care youth and their caregivers to be educated about existing California laws that protect students against bias; and AB 2747, which requires doctors to facilitate death by dehydration on demand for terminally ill patients – even those having up to one more year to live.

The three bills, which have drawn protest from groups including Concerned Women for America and California Right to Life, were signed over the course of three days – the first two on Sept. 28 and the third on the evening of Sept. 30.

Regarding the first two bills, Thomasson argued that creation of new laws, “which make homosexual-bisexual-transsexual 'rights' superior to everyone else's rights,” is wrong and unfair.

"The words 'discrimination,' 'harassment,' and 'tolerance' have been redefined and are actually resulting in reverse discrimination and intolerance against people with moral values," Thomasson expressed in a public announcement.

He also rebuked Schwarzenegger for giving California “something worse than physician-assisted suicide.”

"AB 2747 actually allows people who aren't doctors to claim that you're 'terminal' and hopeless, thus triggering the new mandate requiring patients to be offered ways to kill themselves,” he explained.

“Dr. Jack Kevorkian would be proud. So would HMOs that tend to regard people as dollar bills and consider you more expensive alive than dead."

In addition to CCF, AB 247 has been opposed by the California Disability Alliance, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, California League of United Latin American Citizens, La Raza Roundtable de California, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, California Right to Life among others.

According to Alex Schadenberg, the executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – Canada and the chair of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition – International, AB 2747 represents a new strategy for the euthanasia lobby in the United States.

“AB 2747 is an unnecessary bill because it codifies into law practices that are already regulated by medical bodies,” Schadenberg wrote in his personal blog before the bill’s signing. “It also defines ‘palliative care’ in terminology that is too broad. Finally, it continues to make terminal sedation and dehydration a medical act for people who are not yet dying, who would otherwise not be considered for such an act.”

Schadenberg encouraged those who might overlook the bill as a local issue not to.

“We need to be concerned if AB 2747 passes in California because this new strategy is sure to be deployed everywhere,” he wrote.

AB 2747 was sponsored by Compassion & Choices, the new name of the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society.