The author of a California bill that aimed to create the most expansive assisted dying law in the country has pulled the proposal, meaning it won’t be considered this year.

San Diego area Sen. Catherine Blakespear confirmed after Politico first reported that she removed her proposal, Senate bill 1196, from consideration before its first hearing, which was supposed to be Monday.

“At this point, there is a reluctance from many around me to take up this discussion, and the future is unclear,” Blakespear said in a statement. “The topic, however, remains of great interest to me and to those who have supported this bill thus far.”

Her bill would have expanded the state’s current End Of Life Options Act to allow patients without a specific prognosis to request life-ending drugs if they are suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition.” Current law in California and all other states says patients can only request these drugs when they have six months left to live.

It also added dementia to the list of conditions that could qualify, but specified that only having a mental health condition does not.

The proposal faced opposition from all sides, even from lobbying groups and legislators that have pushed for similar laws in the past. Compassion & Choices, a national group that lobbies for end of life options, was against it from the start for straying from the six-month standard for terminal patients and for including dementia.

Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, who authored the original End of Life Options Act in 2016, came out against the most recent expansion, posting on X that, “While I have compassion for those desiring further change, pushing for too much too soon puts CA & the country at risk of losing the gains we have made for personal autonomy.”

Religious groups like the California Catholic Conference have long opposed California’s aid-in-dying law on moral grounds. Disability rights advocates have also argued that aid-in-dying laws create a two-tiered system where people with disabilities or chronic illnesses who want to die are given the option to do so, but people without disabilities who express suicidal thoughts are not. Several groups sued the state over the 2021 expansion of the End Of Life Options Act, but the case was dismissed by the U.S. District Court in March.

“It’s clearly an overreach,” said Tim Rosales, a spokesperson for Patients Rights Action Fund, which opposes the bill. ”They probably had not done their due diligence on the issue.”

With just a few weeks left to pass bills through policy committees before the Legislature’s summer recess, it’s unlikely another lawmaker would proposal a similar measure this year.

From Politico