The following comes from a June 24 San Jose Mercury News article by Jessica Calefati:
SACRAMENTO — The state Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday postponed a key vote on legislation that would allow adults with a terminal illness to seek medication from a doctor to end their lives, raising doubts about the fate of the hotly contested bill.
Democrats representing the Bay Area who sit on the committee are expected to support the End of Life Option Act, but several Democratic members from Southern California remain undecided. And they’re facing intense pressure from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to vote no.
“We need a little more time,” said Sen. Bill Monning, D-Monterey, a co-sponsor of SB128. “We’re going to keep pushing forward.”
The Assembly Health Committee has 19 members, including 12 Democrats. When the bill returns to the panel in two weeks, it will need support from at least 10 lawmakers to pass the measure onto the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
The California Catholic Conference, which represents Catholic churches across the state, has firmly opposed the legislation since January, when Monning and Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, unveiled it at the Capitol.
Earlier this month, when the measure cleared the state Senate, proponents seemed confident it would easily win approval in the overwhelmingly Democratic state Assembly.
But last week, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez sent a letter to members of the health committee, urging them to reject legislation he believes has “dangerous implications for our state, especially the poor and the most vulnerable.”
“We cannot allow California to become a place where we respond to human suffering by simply making it easier for people to kill themselves,” Gomez wrote. “Helping someone die — even if that person is desperate and asks for the help — is still killing.”
Gomez attacked the bill as a “quick-fix ‘solution’ that involves killing the people we find too difficult, too burdensome or too expensive to take care of.” He called on Catholic priests and parishioners from across Los Angeles County to contact local lawmakers who sit on the committee and urge them to vote no.
“The archbishop is very excited about the energy,” Andrew Rivas, a spokesman for Gomez, said Wednesday.