Our coalition asks everybody to immediately urge California Governor, Jerry Brown, to veto ABX2-15, "Physician Assisted Suicide". This is imperative since this bill puts all of us, especially seniors, handicapped people, and poor families, at risk of very dangerous and intolerable situations! Almost all medical groups, patients' organizations, disability rights groups, and religious organizations are against this unacceptable bill.
1. ABX2-15 is the license to kill and is pernicious to everybody! It will make it much easier for hospitals and insurance companies to ask/demand patients to agree to be killed. Why have people been using so much money and manpower to push this bill through the years? There is major profit motive behind it. Hospitals, insurance companies, pension plans, etc., will be able to evade their responsibilities to us that we have earned and paid for through our labor and taxes. Once we adopt the principle that assisted suicide is acceptable, the fences erected around it - for example, having six months to live - are inevitably arbitrary. Eventually not only patients with terminal illness will be allowed or be told to have physician assisted suicide. Recently, a 24 year-old lady in the Netherlands, without serious illness was allowed to be put to death in August!
ABX2-15 is modeled after the Oregon law of which "terminal" patients include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease. Such patients, with appropriate medical care, can have years or even decades to live. It used to be that some patients with 5-year life expectancy were not be able to obtain insurance payments for medical treatment, but a pill to die. Under the current Oregon Health Plan, there are financial incentives to commit suicide. Based on bureaucratic statistical formulas, desired treatments to allow patients to live are not covered, while suicide is fully covered! ABX2-15 will allow the same scenario. Does California want to follow the terrible footsteps of Oregon?!
2. Currently, California health care system already gives insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors tremendous power over ordinary patients who do not even have adequate recourse in wrongful death cases. According to California Assembly Public Health and Developmental Services Committee Bill Analysis of ABX2-15, doctors will now have even more power with "blanket immunity . . . even in instances where their actions are grossly negligent."
American Medical Association, World Health Organization, American College of Physicians, American Cancer Society, etc. are all against ABX2-15. According to American Medical Association, this type of bill is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risk.
3. Predicting life expectancy is not an exact science and misdiagnosis often happens. Even if every doctor and every hospital operates properly, human beings do make mistakes. With this bill, human errors can readily cost lives.
4. Scientific breakthroughs in medical treatment and medication continue to occur. This bill will give future generations a very bad example and cause them to have negative thinking as well as encouraging patients with bad prognosis to give up easily.
5. ABX2-15 does not provide an adequate cool-off period. Basically only two oral notices 15 days apart and a written notice from the patient are needed. Only two doctors are needed to approve on assisted suicide, the two of them can belong to the same business entity. A seriously sick patient often is emotional and cannot make sagacious decision especially without the advice of family members.
6. This bill can be a recipe for elder abuse. In some cases, even family members focus more on self interests or monetary benefits and ill-advise or even harm the patients. The heir of an elder can actively participate in signing him/her up for the lethal dose. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required when the lethal dose is administered. If the patient struggled, who would know? The latest amendments of the bill do not provide sufficient protection to patients or seniors.
Suffice it to say, this is indeed a life-or-death situation for Californians! Please definitely urge California Governor Brown to veto ABX2-15 now. Similar bills have been blocked four times in California; we must stop their importunate demand determinedly. This bill was defeated earlier in California Assembly, but was re-wrapped unscrupulously and approved in about two weeks.
Contact Information of the Governor who needs to have a huge number of opposing citizens to veto the bill:
A. Fax: (916) 558-3160
B. Email: www.gov.ca.gov, then click "contact" and follow instructions
C. Phone: (916) 445-2841
Frank Lee, President of Organization for Justice and Equality (OJE) (510) 982-1653
Margaret Dore, President of Choice is an Illusion
Gary Fanger, President of California for Liberty
Rev. Franco Kwan, Chairman of San Francisco Chinese Christians Union
Dr. Evelyn Li, Founder of Patients' Advocate
Terry Thompson, Board Member of Life Legal Defense Foundation