10/5/15: Jerry Brown didn't do his homework on suicide bill


October 5, 2015 -- For Immediate Release

Jerry Brown didn't do his homework on suicide bill
Thomasson: "Jerry Brown overlooked that no witness at death, no requirement to self-administer, permitting forgery of a final attestation form, and a false cause of death on the death certificate sets up weak and vulnerable Californians to be killed off"
Sacramento, California -- A leading family values organization in California says vulnerable people will die before their time, now that Governor Jerry Brown has signed the "assisted suicide" bill, ABX2-15.

"For all practical purposes, this bill will open the door to pressure the weak and vulnerable to die prematurely," said Randy Thomasson, president of SaveCalifornia.com, which promotes moral virtues for the common good, and which lobbied against the bill. "This is no victory, but a horrific defeat for a just and civilized society. People who otherwise could have fought to live or at least extended their lives will be 'helped' to die early, and that's shameful, even criminal. This will give California an awful legacy. The governor didn't do his homework. He misstates, for example, that it's a crime to commit suicide in California, which is simply not true."

"Jerry Brown overlooked that no witness at death, no requirement to self-administer, permitting forgery of a final attestation form, and a false cause of death on the death certificate sets up weak and vulnerable Californians to be killed off," Thomasson said. "It's true that this bill sets up the perfect crime."

No witness at death: Nowhere in ABX2-15 is a witness required when the lethal drug is administered. How would you know if the person resisted or if it was really their choice to die that day?
No requirement to self-administer: The bill suggests but never requires self-administration of the lethal drug. Elder abuse, already a huge problem, would be exacerbated by ABX2-15, which permits a legal heir -- a person with a financial self-interest -- to help request and even administer the lethal drug. Section 443.1(b) says "the qualified individual may choose to self-administer"; likewise, Section 443.1(i) says "may self-administer" - but nowhere in the bill does it say "must" or "shall" self-administer" -- thus another person could administer the lethal dose. If the prescribed patient hesitates or delays, what's to stop someone from dissolving the water-soluble drug and giving it to the unsuspecting patient to drink? Predators, even within the family, would be virtually exempt from law enforcement because no witness is required and the bill protects them from virtually all civil liability and criminal prosecution. For without a witness, how would anyone know whether a crime was committed or if there was resistance or a struggle?
Permitting forgery of a final attestation form: The final attestation form within 48 hours prior to ingesting a lethal dose cannot be verified or enforced, so how can it be known whether the now-dead individual actually filled out the final form? And where is the penalty if the form wasn't even turned in? There is no guarantee that the person truly wanted to die that day; the bill provides no supervision or consequences for this step. See attorney Margaret Dore's analysis.

False cause of death on death certificate: This bill also promotes medical deception by prohibiting doctors from writing "suicide" or even "physician-assisted suicide" on the death certificate as the cause of death. Likewise, ABX2-15 prohibits law enforcement from saying "homicide" or "elder abuse" occurred, even if there was overwhelming evidence. It sets up "the perfect crime." As Margaret Dore of Choice is an Illusion explains on page 18 of her analysis: "With the death required to be treated as 'Natural' simply because the act was used, a perpetrator who tricked the patient into taking the lethal dose, or who administered the lethal dose to the patient while he or she was asleep, or who directly killed the patient over the patient's vehement objection, cannot be convicted of murder. The Medical Examiner, the Coroner and the Prosecutor must certify the death as Natural."

"It's frightening how this bill would open the door for the state government, HMOs, and hospitals to steer people toward suicide," Thomasson added. "In Oregon, the state has sent letters that both reject medical treatment and suggest suicide. Is the California bill any different when it permits insurers to reject medical treatment in one letter and suggest suicide in a second letter?"
"ABX2-15 exempts doctors who prescribe these poison pills from any and all liability," Thomasson said. "Because 'undue influence' isn't defined in the bill, blanket immunity for physicians and nurses will result in unreported coercion that ushers in early deaths, which will save hospitals and insurance companies money. Because some patients are viewed as 'cheaper dead than alive.'"  
"At the very least, there should be a state constitutional lawsuit against this bill which has obviously violated the law restricting the subject matter of extraordinary session bills," Thomasson said. "The subject of this special session was Medi-Cal funding, not suicide in any way, shape, or form."

Gov. Brown's June 16, 2015 proclamation convening an extraordinary session on Medi-Cal funding

California Constitution, Article IV, Section 3(b): On extraordinary occasions the Governor by proclamation may cause the Legislature to assemble in special session. When so assembled it has power to legislate only on subjects specified in the proclamation but may provide for expenses and other matters incidental to the session.

"With this terrible suicide bill needlessly signed, California is now telling young people that sometimes suicide is 'an answer' to life's problems," Thomasson concluded. "Pandora's Box is open. Concerned families should make plans now to never allow sick family members to be alone in the hospital, and to rethink whether convalescent homes and hospices are safer elsewhere, in states that don't promote suicide, such as Nevada and Arizona."

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SaveCalifornia.com is a leading West Coast nonprofit, nonpartisan organization standing strong for moral virtues for the common good. We represent children and families in the areas of marriage and family, parental rights, the sanctity of human life, religious freedom, financial freedom, and back-to-basics education.



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