Californians Against Assisted Suicide Response to California Medical Association's following of the Oregon Medical Association's 1994 example in neutrality on assisted suicide

Opposition Statements by 35-year CMA member, Past Director of CA Dept of Rehabilitation, and a Psychiatrist/University Medical Ethics Director

May 20, 2015, 12:40 ET from Californians Against Assisted Suicide

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Californians Against Assisted Suicide remains steadfast in its opposition to Senate Bill 128. A letter was sent to legislators last week that included groups such as the Association of Northern California Oncologists, Medical Oncologists Association of Southern California, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, The Arc, Independent Living Center of Southern California, Independent Living Center of Silicon Valley, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund and others opposing doctor-prescribed death - click here to view a copy of that letter.

The Oregon Medical Association similarly took a neutral position on the 1994 ballot measure to pass doctor-prescribed suicide. However in 1997, the Oregon Medical Association switched back to oppose and joined the campaign to overturn that recently passed Oregon law. 

Statements by #NoOnSB128 Partners

Walter Newman, Jr., MD. Dr. Newman is a 35 year member of the California Medical Association and Family Physician in San Jose. 

"The California Medical Association's change of position does not reflect the strong opposition to physician- prescribed suicide by many thousands of my colleagues throughout California. Senate Bill 128 flies in the face of the oath we took to safeguard the lives and welfare of our patients.

"The majority of my patients are farm workers.  This bill will have a disproportionate and tragic impact on the low-income, immigrant, and disabled populations my colleagues and I serve. There is no right way to do a wrong thing."

Catherine Campisi PhD., past Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation appointed by Governor Gray Davis. She is also a long-time disability rights advocate.

"There are no amendments that can fix a fundamentally bad public policy. Our coalition continues to oppose this deeply flawed legislation because of the dangers it poses to those living with disabilities or in vulnerable circumstances, particularly in a state as ethnically and economically diverse as California. Assisted suicide is inherently dangerous to those who are expensive to care for or who lack access to proper medical care, and rather than open up that pandora's box, we ought to be exploring how to expand hospice and palliative care to address the needs of those terminally ill.  Assisted suicide and Senate Bill 128 are misguided efforts."

Aaron Kheriaty MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Medical Ethics Program at the UC Irvine School of Medicine.

"While these amendments certainly give more protections to doctors, they do very little for the patient and further erode the doctor patient relationship. Indeed, the amendments highlight a central problem with this legislation: these bills are designed primarily to protect the prescribing physician, rather than to protect the vulnerable patient.

"Looking at the Oregon experience with assisted suicide, we must consider how the legalization of assisted suicide attitude influences society.  Suicide is now a public health crisis: according to the CDC suicide is currently the 3rd leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults, and the 10th leading cause of death overall for adults.  Since the law was passed in Oregon, overall suicide rates in that state are there now 35% higher than the national average."

For more information on Californians Against Assisted Suicide and its partners please visit:

Californians Against Assisted Suicide is a coalition of disability rights, healthcare, civil rights, patient advocacy and faith-based organizations dedicated to preventing legalization of doctor assisted suicide in California.


SOURCE Californians Against Assisted Suicide