The death lobby is at it again in California, renewing its push for legislation to legalize assisted suicide in our state - a near-perfect cover for elder abuse and murder. Assembly Bill X2-15, the latest initiative in the "death with dignity" campaign that has already won legislative victories in five states. Senate Bill 128, the previous iteration of the proposed law, succeeded in passing the upper house, but it was pulled from the Assembly Health Committee in June. Yesterday, however, twelve members of both the State Assembly and Senate gathered to promote the legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal medications to the terminally ill.
Supporters of the new assisted suicide bill, such as Assemblyman Luis Villejo, say its passage would help "thousands in California that are suffering but don't have the means nor the resources to pack up and move to another state." Pack up and move to another state to take a legally sanctioned lethal dose of medication, that is.
Let's unpack Villejo's statement - immediately we can see that one of the strongest motivators for the proposed law is financial. In the eyes of some policy planners, the sick, elderly, and suffering are viewed as a drain on public and private resources; therefore, the sooner they can be efficiently done away with, the better. This utilitarian view, using smiley-faced words like "compassion" and "choice," totally devalues human life in the process, ultimately encouraging assisted suicide as the most economical solution to chronic health issues at an institutional level. And if our sick and elderly, especially the poor among them, are made to feel worthless, then suicide becomes a logical option in such a hopeless society.
In addition to devaluing human life, Assembly Bill X2-15 provides excellent cover for elder abusers (whether ill-intentioned family members, caretakers, etc.) who seek to kill senior citizens and then seize their assets. There's a distinct lack of oversight in how physicians can provide lethal medications to patients with no need to be present at the moment of death - a prime opportunity for a bad actor to poison a victim. The cause of death for assisted-suicide cases will be listed on California death certificates as the underlying condition rather than the lethal dose, adding another lie that can aid in covering up homicide.
Enabling assisted suicide in California will be a recipe for elder abuse and murder. System failure is already foreseeable - so instead of looking at suicide as an easy answer, let's focus on alleviating suffering and upholding the sacred purpose of every person's life.