California's proposed aid in dying bill, SB 128, the End of Life Option Act, received yet another nod from lawmakers on Tuesday when it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Last month, the Senate Health Committee approved the measure, which would allow terminally ill patients to choose a life-ending prescription.
"We believe that this voluntary option is a compassionate addition to the existing continuum of care that may be offered by modern medicine at the end of life," said Lois Wolk (D-Davis), one of the bill's co-authors. "After the successful passage in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, we are one step closer to ensuring that this fundamental right is protected for those in California who are coping with end-of-life issues."
Among those who testified was Christina Symonds, 43, who is terminally ill with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She, like Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old Californian with terminal brain cancer, has moved to Oregon to make use of that state's two-decade-old aid in dying law. Maynard's move or Oregon and her outspoken support of end-of-life legislation, reignited a national debate about assisted suicide, as the practice is also known.
"The move to Oregon has brought me incredible peace of mind knowing that I will not die in excruciating pain," said Symonds, a mother. "I don't want to live my last days in a wheelchair, fully paralyzed, connected to a breathing machine that robs me of the ability to hold my babies and to tell my husband, Teddy, how much I love him," Symonds added.
The bill goes to the Appropriations Committee next.