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  June 20, 2005 VOL. 43, NO. 12Oakland, CA

articles list

Physician-assisted suicide bill stalls

Jr. high training program yields lifetime leaders

Diocese honors two with Medal of Merit

Priests reflect on years of ministry

Precious Blood priests
leave Alameda parish

•Dutch priest killed during Holocaust is a model of courage

•Father James P. McSorlely, O.M.I.

























Physician-assisted suicide bill stalls


Facing a lack of Assemblymember support for their physician-assisted suicide bill, AB 654, co-authors Patty Berg (D-Eureka) and Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) pulled a parliamentary maneuver, postponing a vote until later in the legislative session after the Senate has a chance to debate and vote on the controversial measure opposed by a coalition of religious, health care and disability rights groups.

“It’s a clear defeat for the bill’s supporters in the Assembly,” said Tim Rosales, spokesperson for Californians Against Assisted Suicide. He said there were fewer than 20 backers for the bill, which required at least 41 votes to pass out of the Assembly.

“I suspect the Senate will have the same or even stronger reaction than the Assembly,” said Rosales. “It’s a failed issue.”

He refuted recent assertions by Assemblymember Levine that the Catholic Church is spending millions to defeat the measure and “throwing lies and scare tactics.”

Rosales said such comments reflect religious intolerance as well as ignorance of the diversity of opposition which includes over 24 disability rights groups, 65 Latino organizations, the California Medical Association, and the California Hospital Association. “They’re throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks,” Rosales commented.

Ned Dolejsi, executive director of the bishops’ California Catholic Conference, said the bill’s Assembly vote postponement underscores the fact that physician-assisted suicide is not acceptable to the general public. “It’s an extreme proposal to honor the autonomous wishes of a few people,” said Dolejsi. “We feel confident we have the opportunity to defeat the bill in the Senate.”

He said coalition members will be lobbying Senators during the summer before they cast votes on AB 654 later in the legislative session. Dolejsi called Levine’s comment about the Church spending millions to defeat AB 654 “a gross exaggeration” since he said expenditures so far mainly involve paying a portion of CCC lobbyists’ salaries.





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