Dion Aroner failed to move her bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide (AB 1592) to the California Assembly in January 2000, rendering AB 1592 dead for the 1999-2000 session! YOUR efforts were important in achieving this result!
Winning this round does not end the war, however. Continue to visit these pages for updates.
Meanwhile, many thanks from the CDA Executive Committee to our members for your hard work!
The proposed so-called "Death with Dignity" Act in the California Assembly, AB 1592, died a quiet death on January 31, 2000. Opponents of the bill, which would have legalized assisted suicide in California, celebrated winning the battle, though not the war -- it seems clear that the issue will reappear in some form in the future.
Meanwhile, advocates are thrilled with this victory! We kept AB 1592 from even being voted on in the Assembly, much less passed. All our work with the media, with contacting our Assembly members, with endless presentations, with forging links with other opposition groups, and with forwarding other bills to improve end-of-life care, have proven successful.
Assembly Bill 1592 failed because it was made a two-year bill in June when its proponent, Dion Aroner, realized she didn't have the votes to bring the bill forward at that time. According to Assembly rules, it had to be acted on by January 31, 2000 to remain a valid bill. But the bill was never moved off its "Inactive" status for a combination of reasons. For one, an effective coalition of people with disabilities and disability organizations worked in coalition with advocates for the poor, consumer advocates, medical and hospice organizations, Catholic organizations, and others, and succeeded in lining up a majority of Assembly members who committed themselves to voting against the bill. Also important was the fact that Assembly Democrats, who are in the majority and amongst whom there were the largest number of undecided "swing" votes in the weeks leading up to the bill's demise, did not want to see a vote on such a contentious issue during an election year in which many amongst their party face important re-election battles.
What happens next is anyone's guess. Such a bill could be proposed again in the 2001-2002 session. If it is, there may be some positive carry-over of opposition sentiment in the legislature due to the successful effort to halt AB 1592 in 1999-2000, though much work would still be needed to ensure that a new effort to pass such legislation doesn't succeed. Alternatively, assisted suicide proponents could attempt legalization by getting a proposition placed on the statewide California ballot. Some have speculated that pro-assisted suicide forces will hold off in California until and unless they are successful in their legalization efforts in other states which may be easier victories for them, because they cannot afford another loss in California.
Clearly, disability advocates CANNOT AFFORD to let ONE MORE STATE legalize assisted suicide!!
Meanwhile it is important to remember that hard work in coalition with other groups who share our opposition CAN STOP SUCH BILLS!!!
Yours in celebration,
Jean Nandi, Laura Mitchell, and Marilyn Golden
Executive Committee, California Disability Alliance
The author of A.B. 1592, Dion Aroner, is determined to "continue the increasingly important public dialogue surrounding the broad range of end-of-life care issues including physician assisted dying." In 2000, she was appointed Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Palliative Care. This committee was to hold public hearings to discuss issues such as pain management, mental competence, hospice care and other options for the terminally ill. While the California Disability Alliance applauds the public discussion of these important topics, we had heard that Aroner also planned to introduce another euthanasia bill in the 2000-2001 session. More recently, we have heard that although she still wants to increase public discussion of the issue, she may have decided against introducing another bill. We will continue to monitor the situation and move into high gear should the situation change.
Keep watching this site for updates. Meanwhile, JOIN the
CDA Action Against Legislation of Assisted Suicide committee
For a discussion of both sides of the issue of Assisted Suicide, see the
California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC) Briefing