SAN FRANCISCO, FEB. 6, 2009 -- Since 2005 the California Legislature has consistently rejected controversial efforts to legalize assisted suicide, but Compassion and Choices (the former Hemlock Society) is persistant in continuing to raise the issue in California. It is important that newly elected legislators become aware of the history and consequences of this issue so that they are not talked into supporting such a bill if it is introduced. You can help by sending a letter to your state senator or assembly member, particularly if they are newly elected.
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Washington and Montana
Since last session, physician-assisted suicide has been approved by voters in Washington state, and forced on Montana citizens by judicial decree.
As of February, the Montana legislature is considering implementing legislation, LC1818 . The current draft as a 48 hour waiting period from the time of request until the doctor write the lethal prescription. This would make the Montana law considerably more aggressive than either Washington or Oregon, which both have 15 day waiting periods. Compassion and Choices has publicly stated that the Washington and Oregon waiting periods are too restrictive and have speculated that they would not survive a legal challenge. The rush to death goes on.
Last June in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, the Oregon Register-Guard published a story about the state health services denying doctor prescribed treatment to a woman with lung cancer, yet they instead offered to pay for doctor-assisted suicide. These tragedies have a significant impact on those individuals facing serious or chronic disease and disability.
Efforts against assisted suicide in California continue to have united and active involvement of many statewide organizations including those representing disability rights, civil rights and Latino organizations, physicians and cancer doctors, medical professionals, the working poor and the uninsured.