Media release – 6 October 2015

California legalises assisted suicide as a cost-cutting measure by circumventing the normal legislative process


Today Governor Jerry Brown signed bill ABX2-15 that legalises assisted suicide in California for terminally ill people who are expected to live for six months or less.

The “assisted dying” bill progressed to the Governor’s desk without being subjected to the normal legislative process.

In July the California Assembly thoroughly examined assisted suicide bill SB 128 and voted against it. Three months later a virtually identical bill ABX2-15 was submitted through a special session on health care financing in order to bypass the lawmakers who previously rejected it. The bill was fast-tracked without sufficient committee scrutiny or debate. The committee members who passed the bill were hand-selected to give it ease of passage.

The special session was convened to address funding for a $1.1 billion shortfall for Medi-Cal, a low-cost health insurance scheme for low-income adults, families with children, people with disabilities, children in foster care and pregnant women.

Assemblyman Scott Wilk remarked, “The passage of this bill made a mockery of the legislative process. If an issue this contentious should become law, it should do so in a transparent manner and be given the time and attention it deserves.”

Since 1994, 175 assisted suicide bills have been introduced in 35 US states. To date only one has survived the normal legislative process: in Vermont in 2013.