This has been a hard debate and an emotional debate. But I believe the members of the Assembly Health Committee today made the right decision for California, and especially for the poor and most vulnerable members of our society.
I am grateful for the committee members’ thoughtful reflection and leadership on this complicated issue.
For the Catholic community here in Los Angeles, this is not a “Catholic” issue or a question of our doctrine or ethics. For us, the issue of physician-assisted suicide involves fundamental questions of human dignity and social justice.
And we are not alone in our concerns. We are part of a diverse and broad coalition — ranging from health care professionals and persons living with disabilities to leaders in our African American, Hispanic and immigrant communities.
All of us fear that in a for-profit health care system, legalizing assisted suicide would lead to injustices and suffering for our poor, elderly and handicapped neighbors, as well as for those living in immigrant and minority communities.
California has a long and proud tradition of leadership in promoting human dignity and access to health care for everyone living in our great state.
In that spirit, I pray that we can come together as people of good will to seek the solutions — in medical training, geriatrics, palliative treatment and other areas — that can truly improve the compassionate care of terminally ill patients and those at the end of life.