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Home » Archives » Legislative Issues » California Legislative Issues Archive » Assisted Suicide Bill Dead This Year -- Expected to be Resurrected Next Year!

Assisted Suicide Bill Dead This Year -- Expected to be Resurrected Next Year!

Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
Department of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty

July 13, 2005


Assisted Suicide Bill Dead This Year -- Expected to be Resurrected Next Year!

California Assembly Bill 651 was designed to alleviate the suffering of terminally ill patients until it was amended to eliminate such people entirely through self inflicted means -- medically assisted suicide, that is. Thankfully, due to the opposition of many groups, including Adventist Health and the Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council, this bill is "dead" for the year. The author is on record indicating his commitment to work for passage over the long term. The issue is not going away any time soon.

We have opposed assisted suicide for several reasons:

1. We place a high value on human life, and do not want to see health care facilities become places where people go to die rather than be places of hope.

2. Emotional, financial, and psychological pressures could become overpowering for depressed or dependent people. If the choice of assisted suicide is considered as good as a decision to receive care, many of our most vulnerable citizens who feel like they are a “burden” to their families or society will feel guilty for not choosing death.

3. Doctor-assisted suicide is open to abuse, no matter how many precautions are in place. Nothing in this bill prevents HMOs, managed care companies, doctors, or anyone else from suggesting, encouraging, offering, or bringing up assisted suicide with a patient who has not asked about it.

4. HMOs, managed care companies, doctors, and others will see death as a legitimate way to contain health care costs.

A statement released by the Adventist Church in 1992 draws a sharp distinction between "foregoing medical interventions that only prolong suffering and postpones the moment of death" and "actions that have as their primary intention the direct taking of a life." Drawing on Biblical principles of the value of human life, the statement rejects euthanasia and affirms the Adventist Church's commitment to "revealing God's grace by minimizing suffering."

A terminally ill person is entitled to respect, compassion, and to every medical treatment available to alleviate pain and improve the quality of their existence. The dying individual ultimately has the choice to accept or reject treatments that merely extend life. This is categorically and morally different from active euthanasia, or 'mercy-killings."

It has often been repeated that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. The push for assisted suicide makes the stakes even higher -- eternal vigilance is now a matter of life or death. The Seventh-day Adventist Church State Council will be monitoring this issue closely. You can help do your part by joining our national organization, the North American Religious Liberty Association,, and by your active defense of life and liberty.

These religious liberty newsflashes and legislative e.lerts are published by the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Department of Public Affairs & Religious Liberty.

For assistance with a religious liberty problem: Alan J. Reinach, Esq.,; 805-413-7396

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