The Latest: Right-to-die foes: Law may lead to early suicide

AP News
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Posted: Mar 10, 2016 5:23 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California's right-to-die law taking effect in three months (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

Opponents say the California law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives with doctor-prescribed medication fails to protect people from being coerced into premature suicide.

State lawmakers adjourned a special session on health care Thursday, paving the way for the law to take effect June 9.

Marilyn Golden with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund said the law could allow people denied medication by one doctor to shop around for the lethal drugs.

Edward "Ned" Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, says palliative care and emotional support is the compassionate response, "not a lethal dose of drugs from a physician."

Some patients were relieved. Elizabeth Wallner, who has stage 4 colon cancer, says it gives her "peace of mind to know that I will not be forced to die slowly and painfully."

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10:30 a.m.

Terminally ill California residents will be able to legally end their lives with medication prescribed by a doctor in three months.

State lawmakers adjourned a special session on health care Thursday, paving the way for California's law allowing physician-assisted suicide to take effect in 90 days.

Dying patients hoping to use the law have been in limbo since state lawmakers approved it last year.

It passed following the heavily publicized case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life in 2014.

Opponents say the law could prompt premature suicides. Supporters say it gives the terminally ill a choice on how to end their lives.