Right to Die Bill Stalled

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SACRAMENTO —

Legislation allowing terminally ill Californians to end their own lives has stalled.

The Assembly Health Committee was slated to vote on SB 128 this afternoon, but due to growing opposition, the vote was canceled.

Opponents call the so-called right to die legislation ‘bad medicine’ that could put some in danger.

"I think it means that it's going to be an uphill climb to legalize assisted suicide in California,” said Marilyn Golden of Californians Against Assisted Suicide.

While opponents celebrate a victory, supporters are not backing down.

"If we have anything to do with it, the bill is not dead for this year we are looking at other options to move the bill forward this year," said Toni Broaddus, California Campaign Director of Compassion and Choices.

Broaddus says there are currently thousands of terminally ill Californians who wish to die on their own terms.

"This bill could not be more urgent we have folks who need this relief now,” Broaddus said.

One of them was Brittany Maynard. The 29-year-old with terminal brain cancer became a face, and a voice for the cause last year.

She moved to Oregon to end her life under that state’s “death with dignity” law.

Retired Physician Dr. Robert Olvera became an advocate after hearing Maynard’s story.

"She had cancer for 17 years. Her last 4 months of life she suffered a stroke, she was blind,” said Dr. Olvera.

The doctor mentions another case she witnessed in California.

At that point it was too late to ease his 25-year-old daughter Emily’s pain. No longer responding to medicine, Dr. Olvera says Emily had few options in California.

"Emily twice asked me for medication where she could go to sleep permanently. She knew that she had no quality of life,” said Dr. Olvera.

Dr. Olvera is now fighting so other terminally ill patients can avoid pain in their final moments of life.

The bill’s authors released a joint statement saying in part, “We remain committed to passing the End of Life Option Act for all Californians who want and need the option of medical aid in dying.”

Similar legislation has failed in California in recent years.