On October 5th, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial  physician assisted suicide bill (AB 2X 15.)  While Agudath Israel’s opposition to the entire concept of physician assisted suicide is longstanding, when it became apparent that such a bill would indeed pass in the Golden State, Agudath Israel of California concentrated its efforts on amending the bill to eliminate certain particularly dangerous provisions and protect the rights of our community. In the end, most of those amendments were included in the legislation, such as robust reporting requirements and other patient protections.

Unfortunately, two important amendments proposed by Agudath Israel were not accepted. One amendment would have required documentation of the reason for the suicide request at the initial consultation.  The final bill only requires such documentation in a form to be submitted 30 days after the patient’s demise. The other amendment required documenting who initiated the discussion about the assisted suicide.
Agudath Israel sent a letter to Governor Brown asking him to veto the bill (click here to view a copy of the letter.)  In addition, Agudath Israel contacted the appropriate regulatory agency to convey its remaining concerns with the new law, in the hope that some of the concerns can be addressed before implementation begins. While the initial responses have been positive and the intervention has made a great difference, much work remains ahead.  The legislation cannot go into effect until the end of the special session of the legislature, sometime between January and November 2016.