Pushing Someone to Seek Physician Assisted Suicide or Helping to Carry It Out May Soon No Longer be a Crime in California

California lawmakers are revising the state’s penal code to make advising or helping someone to carry out a physician assisted suicide unprosecutable.

Physician-assisted suicide has been legal in the nation’s most populous state since 2015 — it went into effect in 2016 — but this week the state Senate amended the penal code to read that while “[a]ny person who deliberately aids, advises, or encourages another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony,” anyone “whose actions are compliant with the provisions of the End of Life Option Act (Part 1.85 (commencing with Section 443) of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code) shall not be prosecuted under this section.”

Wesley Smith, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, explained why the changes to the state’s penal code should concern residents.

“In other words, if someone — say, a relative due to inherit money, a caregiver tired of the responsibility, an assisted-suicide ideologue, a doctor or nurse, heck anyone for any reason — encourages, advises, pressures, guilts, convinces, cajoles, and/or actively aids a dying person to commit assisted suicide under the California law, the persuader cannot be prosecuted,” Smith said in a National Review blog post Wednesday.

“Talk about exposing the vulnerable dying to abuse!”

The proposed changes must return to the State Assembly, the lower chamber in the state’s legislature, but that house has already passed similar legislation and Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign it.

Physician assisted suicide is also legal in Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. A court ruling in Montana has allowed the practice in that state as well.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter