The End of Life Act was passed by the California State Assembly Wednesday and is scheduled to move to the Senate next.
ABX2-15 would allow mentally-capable, terminally-ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying drugs to painlessly and peacefully hasten their death, according to a news release.
The bill was passed by a vote of 43 to 34, according to a news release. It now moves to the Senate, which passed a similar version of the legislation, SB-128, in June. The authors face a deadline of Friday, September 11 to pass ABX2-15.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, voted against the bill in Wednesday’s session.
Senator Sharon Runner, R-Antelope Valley, says she is against the End of Life Act.
“This bill strikes a very personal chord for me, as I was terminally ill just a few years ago,” Runner said. “I would not be here today without my lung transplant. It was a long and difficult process, and I struggled through many painful days. But, look at the life I have now. I believe life is sacred; it begins at conception and ends when it is meant to end. We should not force the issue.”
The bill passed out of the special session health committee in a vote of 10 – 3 last week. It also passed the Assembly Finance Committee with a 5-3 vote.
Santa Clarita resident Christy O’Donnell, who is also a single-mom, civil rights attorney and former LAPD sergeant, has brain, liver, lung, rib and spine cancer. She’s morphine intolerant and is going to die painfully from her illness.
She is also the lead plaintiff in a suit asserting the California constitution and state law allow terminally ill adults the option of medical aid in dying.
“The pain is pretty significant now (compared) to when I was in here, what a month ago,” O’Donnell said. “I take a lot of percocet. I take a lot of it and it barely takes the edge off the pain. I’m really at the end of my treatment.”
O’Donnell is just one of hundred of terminally ill patients in the Santa Clarita Valley, she says. She belongs to a stage IV cancer support group with many of them.
“If you believe in this at all, even if it’s not a choice for yourself, if you believe other people should have a choice, you have to act now because what’s happening is that the governor called an exigent emergency session that they’re trying to pass the bill through on. So, we literally have a few days,” O’Donnell said. There’s a judiciary committee vote, a finance committee vote and then this bill goes to the entire Assembly and we’re so close.”
For more information about the End of Life Act, visit the Compassion & Choices website.