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C&C Magazine

California Legislation Remains in Play

Ignore headlines to the contrary: California’s End of Life Option Act, SB 128, remains viable. Erroneous stories spread when bill sponsors decided not to present the bill at the Assembly Health Committee as scheduled Tuesday in order to give assemblymembers more time to consider the bill.

Our team is currently pursuing several strategies that will keep the bill moving, and calls on supporters to keep up the pressure to see it pass. “SB 128 is still alive and well,” said Compassion & Choices California Campaign Director Toni Broaddus. “Seven out of every ten California voters want to see this bill become law, so we will not stop until we make that happen.”

“This issue is urgent for dying Californians like Jennifer Glass, Christy O’Donnell and hundreds of others who are suffering unbearably at the end of their lives,” Broaddus said, recognizing some of the bill’s more recognizable advocates. Glass, who was scheduled to testify Tuesday, and O’Donnell have appeared throughout the media speaking out in favor of SB128, devoting their extraordinarily precious time to ensuring full end-of-life autonomy for others suffering terminal illness. “We are redoubling our commitment to passing the End of Life Option Act for all other Californians who want and need the option of medical aid in dying,” said Broaddus.

SB 128 was inspired by the public advocacy of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old Californian with terminal brain cancer. She had to move to Oregon last year to utilize its death-with-dignity law to end her unbearable suffering so she could die peacefully, teaming with Compassion & Choices to carry out her mission of bringing an Oregon-style law to her home state. SB 128 is closely modeled after Oregon’s law, which has worked well for 17 years, without a single documented case of abuse or coercion.

Since Brittany Maynard’s story broke last October, 16 California newspapers have written 26 editorials endorsing the End of Life Option Act including The Los Angeles TimesSacramento BeeSan Jose Mercury News and Hoy, a leading Spanish-language newspaper in Los Angeles. And a bipartisan poll last month showed that 69 percent of California voters, including 70 percent of Latinos and 60 percent of Catholics, support SB 128.

“This battle is far from over,” assured Broaddus. “We owe it to terminally ill Californians to pursue every available path to give them relief from unbearable suffering.”

Check our California page in the coming weeks to track our changing strategy and progress. Or if you live in the Golden State, use our quick and easy tool to send a letter to your senator and assemblymember!