I’ve been talking to people about what can be done to repeal the awful suicide-promotion bill that Jerry Brown has signed into law.
There are at least 3 ways to repeal ABX2-15, the dangerous and unnecessary “assisted suicide” law that is scheduled to go into effect sometime next year.
Short-term: A constitutional lawsuit would challenge the California Supreme Court to uphold the clearly written words of the California State Constitution. A just ruling would find ABX2-15 unconstitutional.
Article IV, Section 3(b) limits special session bills to the subjects listed in the governor’s proclamation convening a special session. The specific subject of this special session was Medi-Cal funding, not suicide in any way, shape, or form.
I so wish we had a constitutional republic where any citizen could sue to enforce the clear reading of the Constitution. Over the decades, that right has been significantly and unconstitutionally eroded. Therefore, the task is to find the right person or persons of “standing” that the court will recognize.
Medium-term: A ballot referendum would aim to repeal AB2X-15 by a direct vote of the People. A referendum has been filed against for the Suicide State bill. It intends a clean, clear reversal of ABX2-15 and doesn’t seem to be for organization-building, but for a noble purpose.
Here’s the Oct. 6 filing, one day after Brown signed the bill. The official proponent is psychologist Mark Hoffman of Seniors Against Suicide. However, referenda are very difficult to qualify. There’s only around 2 months to collect nearly a half million raw signatures (the 90-day clock has already started and 10-20 days will be “eaten up” before signatures can begin to be collected). And it will be a long petition that cannot be functionally printed from the web.
According to the California Secretary of State: A proponent has only 90 days from the date of the enactment of a bill (or in the case of a redistricting map, the date a final map is certified to the Secretary of State) to request and receive a circulating title and summary from the Attorney General (Elections Code § 9006(a) allows 10 days for the preparation of the circulating title and summary), print petitions, gather the required number of valid signatures, and file the petitions with the county elections officials. [Bolding added for emphasis]
To successfully qualify for the California ballot, a referendum campaign quickly needs at least a million dollars — and more likely two or three million dollars — to hire professional signature gatherers to gather more than 60,000 raw voter signatures every week for eight straight weeks. Will a multi-millionaire against suicide come forward and make it happen?
Long-term: A state constitutional amendment is the best long-term legal protection against a suicide agenda. The current law against “assisted suicide” is short. Penal Code, Section 401 reads: Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony. These brief words, along with more words that provide greater definition and close all conceivable loopholes, could be filed as a state constitutional amendment. And it could fit on one page.
This long-term strategy is superior because a state constitutional amendment is the highest legal authority in California, higher than the Governor, the Legislature, and importantly, higher than the California Supreme Court. A constitutional amendment, even with its higher signature requirement, is also easier to qualify than a referendum. Not only does a state constitutional amendment allow the proponents to raise funds and organize ahead of time, it has 180 days to collect signatures compared to around 75 days to gather signatures for a referendum.
My take: I believe the best strategy is a constitutional court challenge, and at the same time, a state constitutional amendment. For the short term, getting ABX2-15 struck down as unconstitutional not only requires the least time and money, it’s entirely appropriate and necessary. And for long-term legal protection against a suicide agenda, a constitutional amendment has much better chances than a referendum of qualifying for the ballot. And a plus of doing these at the same time is that a constitutional amendment campaign collecting signatures will positively lobby the California Supreme Court as it considers a constitutional challenge to ABX2-15.
However, if a multi-millionaire stepped up and donated $1-2 million to the referendum campaign, that could be enough to qualify it. Otherwise, don’t count on it, even if a number of local churches energetically collected signatures from their own congregations. Not many pastors got involved in the battle against ABX2-15, so I don’t expect them to eagerly gather signatures on anti-suicide petitions. It’s sad, but true.
There are even those who think it’s possible for the California Legislature to repeal it themselves. This would take unusual leadership by a handful of anti-suicide Democrat legislators, and would require even better and more sophisticated lobbying than this year’s efforts.
That’s the lay of the land as I see it. SaveCalifornia.com will support any viable, principled effort to repeal the dangerous and unnecessary “assisted suicide” law. This terrible new law must be repealed!
Learn the facts of ABX2-15 from expert attorney Margaret Dore of Choice is an Illusion:
1. ABX2-15 applies to people with a “terminal disease,” which is defined as having a medical prognosis of less than six months to live. Such persons can, in fact, have years, even decades, to live. The more obvious reasons being misdiagnosis and the fact that predicting life expectancy is not an exact science. Doctors can sometimes be widely wrong.
2. In Oregon, which has a nearly identical definition of “terminal disease,” eligible persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes. Such persons, with appropriate medical care, can have years, even decades, to live.
3. ABX2-15 allows the patient’s heir, who will financially benefit from his/her death, to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. This is an extreme conflict of interest.
4. Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required when the lethal dose is administered. If the patient protested or even struggled against administration, who would know?
5. Assisted suicide can be traumatic for family members as well as patients.
6. If California follows Washington State, the death certificate is required to be falsified to reflect a natural death. The significance is a lack of transparency and an inability to prosecute for murder even in a case of outright murder for the money.