Controversial Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill Passes in California Senate

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The California Senate approved a physician- assisted suicide bill by 23 to 13 votes, which will allow some terminally ill patients to take medication that will end their lives. The states of Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont already allow some form of physician- assisted suicide. The California Medical Association, formerly in opposition to the bill, claims that it is currently neutral. Some critics of the legislation are concerned that patients may turn to assisted suicide, if insurers deny coverage for costly life- sustaining medical treatments.

The proposed California law is modeled after the Oregon law and would allow adults, who suffer from incurable and irreversible illnesses that will kill them in 6 months, to obtain medication to end their lives. The law will require two medical opinions to confirm that a patient has less than 6 months to live, and that the patient is mentally capable of making the decision. Physician and pharmacist participation is voluntary, and it is a felony to pressure people into ending their lives.

Summary by Caroline Smith

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Caroline Smith is currently a senior at the University of Notre Dame and is a contributor to Medical Groups. She is majoring in Science-Business and Spanish. After graduation, Caroline plans on entering the field of healthcare consulting. She is most interested in the evolving policy changes in the healthcare industry and enjoys learning about new technologies that are being developed.