.- Pro-life groups are hopeful that California’s physician-assisted suicide bill, AB 654, will not pass as it faces mounting opposition among Democratic Assemblymembers. The Assembly Appropriations Committee passed the California Compassionate Choice Act May 25 by an 11-5 vote, clearing the way for a possible full floor vote before the week’s end.
Ned Dolejsi of the bishops' California Catholic Conference told The Tidings that he does not believe the bill will pass.
He told the diocesan newspaper that lobbying efforts against the bill by a coalition of religious, health care, disability rights and grassroots advocacy organizations were making headway among legislators.
The lobbyist believes the safeguards built into the bill are inadequate. The bill stipulates that the person desiring physician-assisted suicide must have less than six months to live, be mentally competent, obtain confirmation of his/her terminal and rational state by two doctors and administer the lethal dose by themselves.
Tim Rosales, spokesperson for Californians Against Assisted Suicide, said his coalition of 10 groups, is also optimistic that the bill will be defeated.
AB 654 already faces strong opposition by Assembly Republicans. According to Rosales, more Democrats are expressing reservation about the bill as well.
On May 25, Democratic Assembly Appropriations Committee member Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) voted against the bill, and Gene Mullin (D-Millbrae) abstained from the vote.
Two other Assemblymembers, Cindy Montañez (D-San Fernando) and Nicole Parra (D-Hanford), had expressed their opposition April 12.
Parra told the diocesan newspaper that it was difficult to tell whether the bill would pass. “This is one of those pieces of legislation where the member must decide how they are going to vote based on their religious beliefs, past experiences and the facts," she said.