AB374 Dies Natural Death

AB 374 Assembly Appropriations Committee vote.

AB 374 would open the door to a new medical specialization - Assisted Suicide Specialist

Issue of National Significance
This is an issue of national significance- if assisted suicide passes in the nation's largest state, pressure will mount in others across the country.

Learn more about AB 374

The Truth About Assisted Suicide NEW

HMO Doctors say killing patients is OK

Wesley Smith: Catholic Nursing Homes to Be Forced to Permit Assisted Suicide

Photos from the 3/21/07 pickets in Sacramento and Los Angeles

PAS flyers used in parishes

California Suicide Bill Fails to Get Enough Votes
AB374 Dies Natural Death -- at least for 2007
Citizen Phone Calls and Postcards Won the Day

SACRAMENTO, CALIF., June 7, 2007 -- Advocates of legalizing suicide as a medical treatment in California have acknowledged that they could not muster enough votes on the Assembly floor to pass AB 374. They indicated the bill has been put on the shelf for this year but could be brought up again in 2008. (See the press release from Californians Against Assisted Suicide).

This battle is far from over. We will need to continue to work against those who are determined to keep pushing physician-assisted suicide on our society year after year. But let us take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of the hard fought battle this year.

The weeks leading up to the acknowledgment of defeat for the proponents were dramatic indeed. In an act of desparation, the proponents ran ads on conservative talk radio stations attacking His Eminence, Cardinal Roger Mahony, who has courageously spoken out against this deadly bill. The ads refered to the Catholic Church as a political attack dog. It was an attempt to fool citizens into thinking that opposition to AB 374 was merely a matter of injecting Catholic religion into a public policy debate. It was also an attempt to lure Catholics into a debate defending our faith and thus taking public attention off of the real dangers of AB 374.

Volunteers did not let this blatant attack on our faith and bishops be a distraction, but remained focused on contacting Assembly members and delivering the message that AB 374 is bad public policy.

Promoted under the banner of compassion, the bill is in fact a malignant attack on the dignity of the person, especially on the lives of the poor and vulnerable. What is promoted innocuously as "the right to die" may very soon become the responsibility to die.

What we say, and
what we believe.

When we advocate in the secular world, and sometimes even within our parish communities, we use secular arguments that are easily understood and accepted by the people we are trying to persuade. For this issue, these arguments appear in the adjacent article and in the links for talking points.

While these arguments are not religious, they are based on principles of Catholic Social Doctrine, which reveals our Christian obligation to respect the dignity of each human person at every stage and condition of life, and our obligation for human solidarity with our neighbors who may be at risk.

However, our faith teaches us that the foundation of our opposition to assisted suicide is based on the fact that each person created by God is a manifestation of His love -called by name, destined for eternal life. Creation is ongoing and God keeps all of His creation in existence. Therefore persons are not owners, but rather stewards of their own lives.

Consequently, taking one's own life is a serious rejection of God's love and an offense against His creation.

Talking Points

  1. Physician-assisted suicide is bad public policy for California. It will be a threat to millions, including the elderly and people living with disabilities, people suffering from chronic disease - but most especially those without insurance or under-insured.
  2. Numerous attempts to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California have been made since 1992, all of which failed.This is something desired by a small minority of Californians.
  3. Opponents have always included a diverse coalition of Democrats and Republicans.
    NOTE: Catholics for the Common Good has joined Californians Against Assisted Suicide- a broad coalition of organizations focusing on disability rights, civil rights, and legal aid to the poor. The coalition includes healthcare workers, hospice organizations, and medical ethics groups. The California Medical Association, California Disability Alliance, the California Catholic Conference, the Alliance for Catholic Healthcare, LULAC- the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S. - are all prominent in this battle.


AB 374 represents a renewed attempt by euthanasia proponents to foist physician-assisted suicide on unsuspecting Californians.Proponents continue to push this proposal after many failed attempts to make suicide a medical treatment in California going back to 1992. As previously reported, the threat this year has become more serious as the powerful Assembly Speaker, Fabian Nunez, has joined last year's authors -Assemblywoman Patty Berg and Assemblyman Lloyd Levine- as a sponsor of the bill.

This legislation allows doctors to prescribe a lethal overdose of drugs to a patient diagnosed (or misdiagnosed) as "terminal" for the sole purpose of committing suicide. The common good requires that we care for our disabled and ill rather than offer them death. Learn more about the impact of AB 374, Physician-Assisted Suicide

Proponents of the bill received a boost when the California HMO doctors announced their support for doctor-assisted suicide on March 21, 2007. This announcement gave them grounds to claim that doctors are divided on this issue. However, the majority of the doctors oppose assisted suicide. In fact, some of Kaiser's own doctors picketed their Sacramento office on April 24, urging Kaiser to exercise pressure on the California Association of Physician Groups, of which they are a member, to withdraw its support for AB 374.

HMO's and their doctors will benefit from patients opting for lethal prescriptions rather than receiving proper care that their dignity demands. The association of HMO doctors, the California Association of Physician Groups, has publicly announced support for Physician-Assisted Suicide legislation See details.

On April 18, the Assembly Appropriations Committee commited AB 374, the physician-assisted suicide bill, to the suspense file. On Catholic Lobby Day, Tuesday, April 24, Catholics from around the state met with their legislators in Sacramento, asking them to vote against this sinister piece of legislation.

Californians Against Assisted Suicide, including doctors, nurses, hospices, the California Catholic Conference (of Bishops), Catholics for the Common Good, and many others are organizing a major effort to let the members of the legislature know that death by prescription is bad public policy for California. The list of organizations opposing AB 374 and joining the coalition against it is growing, and citizens throughout the state are being urged to contact their Assembly member right away.

The Truth About Assisted Suicide NEW
More talking points from Californians Against Assisted Suicide 

References to Related Catholic Social Teachings

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