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California as the next Canada? Lawmakers want radical assisted suicide expansion

by | Mar 18, 2024

By Bridget Sielicki

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would radically expand assisted suicide in the state and remove many of the safeguards designed to keep it from being abused.

SB 1196, the “End of Life Option Act,” would make a number of changes to the state’s assisted suicide law. In a fact sheet, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Catherine Blackspear, outlined her aim to loosen the current restrictions in a number of ways, including:

  • removing a 48-hour requirement between two separate assisted death requests
  • allowing assisted suicide for non-residents
  • allowing assisted suicide drugs via IV
  • expanding eligibility to allow assisted death for those with early to mid stage dementia
  • replacing the requirement that a person must have a “terminal disease;” instead, one must have “a grievous and irremediable medical condition”

In an op-ed, Wesley J. Smith, author and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism, pointed out that the replacement of the terminal disease stipulation would greatly widen eligibility for assisted suicide, noting that it “could include all manner of conditions, from diabetes, to early stage cancer, to an elderly person becoming frail, to MS, to paraplegia.”

He noted, “Indeed, this would allow people with ailments access to hastened death no matter the potential efficacy of care options.”

Gordon Friesen, President of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, warned that should this bill become law, California would rival Canada, which has established itself as one of the most liberal assisted death nations in the world as it is regularly stripping its safeguards and expanding eligibility for assisted death. Many stories from that country have emerged of people being pressured into assisted death for various conditions, or being approved for things like unavailable medical care or poverty.

Friesen continued, “California SB 1196 does not represent a mere expansion of eligibility requirements for a choice-based system of assisted death. It actually signals a full-blown tipping-point, where publicly funded medicine in that State will begin its transition to a euthanasia-based utilitarian paradigm of death-medicine — a routine substitution of death for care — as already observed in Canada,” Friesen wrote. He added that the proposed expansion underscores the irony of one of the biggest arguments pro-assisted death proponents make as they argue for its legalization: safeguards to keep it in check.

“It will at least become more difficult for apologists of assisted death to keep a straight face — or even to make eye contact — when using the word ‘safeguards’ (or disparaging the ‘slippery slope’),” he said.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Assisted Suicide