Letters to the Editor

    New bill can prevent drawn-out deaths

    Dear Editor,

    On May 26, the California State Assembly Committee for Appropriations approved AB654, California’s Compassionate Choices Act. This bill, carefully modeled after Oregon’s Aid-in-Dying law, allows suffering terminally ill patients to choose to end their lives with the assistance of a willing physician. The bill will soon be brought before the state Assembly for a full vote.

    Surveys show that over two thirds of adults in California support this bill. Moreover, a large majority of physicians nationwide consider it ethical to assist a suffering patient with less than 6 months to live to die peacefully. In fact, over 50 percent of the nation’s physicians support aid-in-dying as a personal medical decision.

    If AB654 passes, we can all avoid the pain, insult, humiliation and expense of a drawn-out death if we so choose. It provides a much needed alternative. It represents a major step forward. California could become the second state in the union to allow physician-aided compassionate choice. Let’s bring California out of the dark ages. Let your assemblyperson know of your support!

    —Milton Saier

    UCSD professor of biology

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