About SB 380
Assisted suicide is already legal in California through the so-called End-of-Life Option Act, narrowly passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown in 2015. The bill received opposition from both Democrat and Republican legislators but was passed inappropriately during a Special Legislative Session on Medi-Cal funding.
Here is What SB 380 Does
During the Legislative hearing process, joint author of the legislation, former Sen. Bill Monning noted in California Healthline, “the joint and co-authors on this bill … have endeavored to build in protections in this [measure] that are stronger than the protections in any of the states where this has been practiced.” (Source: https://californiahealthline.org/morning-breakout/calif-is-one-step-closer-to-legal-physicianassisted-death/)
The Death with Dignity Center, a partner of bill supporters Compassion & Choices, note on their current website FAQs, “Death with dignity statues contain a number of safeguards, protecting patients from abuse and coercion…the patient must make two oral requests, at least 15 days apart.” (Source: https://www.deathwithdignity.org/faqs/)
Now just four and a half years later, Senate Bill 380 proposed by Senator Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), an author of the 2016 End of Life Option Act law, attempts to remove many purported “safeguards” touted by the original End of Life Option Act bill authors.
After only four years and three published annual reports by the California Department of Public Health, this bill will end the existing 2025 sunset date and legislative reevaluation option four years early. This law was implemented in 2016 with very specific requirements. Sound decision-making and science require a more robust data set to evaluate the law’s impact. The Legislature should not prematurely eliminate the law’s evaluation timeline with incomplete data, especially given the introduction of a worldwide pandemic.
Removes the 15-day waiting period for patients and loosens the requirements on determining whether a patient is of sound mind during this period.
Recent investigative reporting again found expansive fraud and abusive scams in the end-of-life industry. Measures recognizing such schemes in end-of-life caregiving are making their way through the California legislature – even as lawmakers are racing to expand assisted suicide under Senate Bill 380 and gaslighting we who point to dangers.
Having shelved legislative opportunity to improve fiscal resources for access to basic healthcare services for Latinos, it’s unconscionable to consider expanding assisted suicide, as if underserved populations are empowered with meaningful exercise of choice. Senate Bill 380 does nothing to solve the healthcare disparities and only eliminates sensible safeguards, including eliminating oversight and legislative review intended to protect those facing healthcare disparities and inequity.
California legislators have priorities wrong and it will cost all of us in health and wealth, but as we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, it will cost the lives of Latino essential workers. Please, please don’t let that continue.