A group of Christian and conservative organizations in California are urging citizens to join them in voicing their opposition to SB128, a bill permitting physician-assisted suicide to those who are terminally ill, citing the dangers of placing lives in the hands of man rather than God.
A coalition of several pro-life groups, including the Organization for Justice & Equality, Chinese Christians Union of San Francisco, California for Liberty and Patients Advocate, released a joint statement on Thursday warning that if passed, the bill would create "disastrous consequences for patients in California and take us in the wrong direction."
"One of the current bad trends of the world is to give the insurance companies and hospitals more chances/authorities to profit by encouraging or even telling patients to commit suicide," the joint statement reads. "California Senate bill 128 (SB128) is a pernicious attempt along this line and must be stopped! This bill which violates basic principles, does not provide a proper cool-off period to patients for euthanasia and the patient's' family members can be left in the dark, putting patients in very vulnerable situations especially given the current problematic medical system."
The statement, which was made available to The Gospel Herald via email, emphasizes that most importantly, "We need to trust and rely on God" as "it is much better to follow His lead rather than our own thinking."
Last month, the State Senate approved SB128, also known as the "End of Life Option Act," in a vote of 23/15. With the passing of the bill, the proposed legislation will head to the Health Committee of California Assembly for ratification on July 7th.
Introduced in January and sponsored by Senators Lois Wolk and Bill Monning, SB128 allows doctors to provide lethal drugs to patients with less than six months to live.
"The bill would also establish the forms to request aid-in-dying medication, an aid-in-dying drug and, under specified circumstances, an interpreter declaration to be signed subject to penalty of perjury, thereby imposing a crime and state-mandated local program," reads SB 128's "Legislative Counsel's Digest."
"This bill would require specified information to be documented in the individual's medical record, including, among other things, all oral and written requests for an aid-in-dying drug."
If California approves the bill, it will join other states that allow the practice, including Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico. However, California previously failed to pass right-to-die legislation in 2005 and 2006 thanks to objections from Catholic and medical groups.
In further describing their opposition SB128, the coalition warns that if passed, the bill will "likely open up the floodgate for hospitals and insurance companies to ask/demand patients to agree to be killed."
"Some terminally ill patients in Oregon, where euthanasia is legal, who turned to their state for health care were denied treatment and instead offered doctor-assisted suicide, a proposal some experts regard as "chilling" corruption of medical ethics," the group explains. "Even if every doctor and every hospital operates properly, human beings do make mistakes. With SB128, human errors can readily cost lives. To save a life is difficult, but to kill is not."
Due to the gravity of the issue, the coalition is urging Californians to join them and numerous other pro-life groups in opposing SB128: "It is imperative to contact California Assembly Members in the health committee since this bill will be heard there on July 7th (next Tuesday)," the group writes. "Similar bills have been blocked four times in California, we must stop their importunate demand determinedly."
The group concludes, "Everybody will be a senior citizen eventually and you do need to stop this not just for others, but also for yourself and future generations. "
Contact information of the legislators can be found at www.legislature.ca.gov.