ON TUESDAY, the state Senate's Judiciary Committee held hearings on an assisted-suicide bill, more than a year after it was last discussed. The legislation, nearly identical to an Oregon law that remains the only one of its kind in the nation, is scheduled to come to a committee vote this week.
Co-written by Assembly members Patty Berg (D-Eureka) and Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), the bill mirrors the Oregon law's requirements of a 15-day waiting period, a second opinion on a patient's status as terminally ill and assurance that a patient's decision was not made under any duress before doctors could provide him with medication to end his life.
The California bill also requires a patient seeking physician-assisted suicide to undergo a psychological evaluation. Berg and Levine proposed similar legislation last year, but it never came to a floor vote because of a lack of support.
Some, notably Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, believe that the issue should be put before the people, as it was in Oregon. Californians defeated such a ballot measure in 1992.