Thursday, August 27, 2015

Updated Materials Against ABX2-15

To view a new materials against ABX2-15, click here and here for a memo and its appendix as separate documents.


ABX2-15, the “End of Life Option Act,” seeking to legalize physician-assisted suicide in California is a recipe for elder abuse.  The bill is not limited to people who are dying.  Indeed, “eligible” persons can have years, even decades, to live.

In Oregon, which has a similar law, that state’s Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer people to suicide.  If ABX2-15 is enacted, California’s Medicaid program, as well as private insurers, will be able to engage in this same conduct.  Do you want this to happen to you or your family?

The bill has a myriad of other problems.  Please vote “No” on ABX2-15.

Monday, August 24, 2015

California's ABX2-15: Governor Not Impressed; Bill Is But A "New Number With the Same Song."

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

On August 17, 2015, the deceptively named Compassion & Choices unveiled its "new" deceptively named End of Life Option Act to great fanfare in a press credentialed only press conference.

Governor Jerry Brown has already weighed in that the present special session "is not the appropriate venue to consider the issue."

The new bill, ABX2-15, is in substance an old bill (SB 128) that was unable to make it out of committee.

ABX2-15 has some new provisions and puts some of the old bill's provisions in a different order. ABX2-15 is in substance the same bill as the old bill. Key points include:
  • ABX2-15 applies to patients with a "terminal disease." In Oregon, which has a similar law, such persons include young adults with chronic conditions such as insulin dependent diabetes and chronic lower respiratory disease. People living with HIV/AIDS, who are dependent on their medication to live, also qualify as "terminal." Such persons can have years, even decades, to live. 
  • Once a person is "labeled 'terminal,' an easy justification can be made that his or her treatment or coverage should be denied in favor of someone more deserving."[1] In Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal, patients are not only denied coverage for treatment, they are offered assisted suicide instead.[2] Well known cases are Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup.[3]
  • The bill remains a recipe for elder abuse in which the patient's heir, who will financially benefit from his or her death, is allowed to actively participate in signing the patient up for the lethal dose. This fact alone does not meet the "stink test." 
  • Once the lethal dose is issued by the pharmacy, there is no oversight. Not even a witness is required at the death. If the patient struggled, who would know?
  • 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.

ABX2-15 is but a new number with the same song. Don't be fooled.

To view a detailed legal/policy analysis of ABX2-15, please click on the following links: Executive summary and indexMemo; and Appendix/Attachments.

* * *

[1] Opinion Letter by Richard Wonderly MD and Attorney Theresa Schrempp, available at
[2] Id.
[3] Id.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Memo to the California State Assemblymembers: Vote "No" on SB 128.

The original pdf version of this memo has an executive summary and index, which can be viewed here. The attachments can be viewed here.


I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.[1] Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to the proposed California bill, SB 128.[2] 

Enactment of SB 128 will create new paths of elder abuse. “Eligible” patients will include people with years, even decades, to live.  

I urge you to reject this measure. Do not make Washington’s and Oregon’s mistake.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

California's Prohibition Against Assisted Suicide Is Constitutional

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

A California trial court has upheld the constitutionality of that state's criminal statute prohibiting assisted suicide, which states:
Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony.
Penal Code § 401

The court's reasoning is contained in a 19 page "Ruling on Demurrer," filed on July 24, 2015. The ruling uses the term, "Aid in Dying" to mean physician-assisted suicide.  The term also means euthanasia. The court states in part:
Since "Aid in Dying" is quicker and less expensive, there is a much greater potential for its abuse, e.g,, greedy heirs-in-waiting, cost containment strategies, ímpulse decision-making, etc. Moreover, since it can be employed earlier in the dying process, there is a substantial risk that in many cases, it may bring about a patently premature death. For example, consider that a terminally ill patient, not in pain but facing death within the next six months, may opt for “Aid in Dying”' instead of working through what might have been just a transitory period of depression. Further, "Aid in Dying" creates the possible scenario of someone taking his life based upon an erroneous diagnosis of a terminal illness illness, which was, in fact, a mis-diagnosis that could have been brought to light by the passage of time. After all, doctors are not infallible.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"Big Business" and Assisted Suicide

By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA*

Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was recently quoted as concerned that big business would use California's assisted suicide proposal, SB 128, to "guide people in that direction," meaning early death via a lethal overdose.

This is a valid concern.

I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal. Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to SB 128, which seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in California.

In Oregon, it is well documented that Oregon's Medicaid program uses coverage incentives to steer people to suicide.  See Affidavit of Oregon doctor, Ken Stevens, pp 3-4 at  With legal assisted suicide, private health plans have this same ability.  Dr. Stevens states:
If assisted suicide is legalized in [your state], your government health plan could follow a similar pattern.  Private health plans could also follow this pattern.  If so, these plans would pay for you and/or your family to die, but not to live.  (Emphasis added).
Id, ¶16.

Dr. Stevens also notes that the mere presence of legal assisted suicide steers people to suicide, which was the case with his patient Jeanette Hall.  Her cancer treatment was fully covered, but with the existence of Oregon's law, she nonetheless became adamant that she would kill herself.  Dr. Stevens convinced her to be treated instead.  (Affidavit, ¶¶ 5-9).  She is alive today, fifteen years later.

As for Assemblyman Hernandez's specific "big business concern," in 2013, a Montana State Senator made a similar observation:
I found myself wondering, Where does all the lobby money come from?  If it really is about a few terminally ill people who might seek help ending their suffering, why was more money spent on promoting assisted suicide than any other issue in Montana?
Could it be that convincing an ill person to end their life early will help health insurance companies save a bundle on what would have been ongoing medical treatment?  How much would the government gain if it stopped paying social security, Medicare, or Medicaid a few months early? [it could actually be years earlier].  How much financial relief would pension systems see?  Why was the proposed law to legalize assisted suicide [SB 220] written so loosely?  Would vulnerable old people be encouraged to end their life unnecessarily early by those seeking financial gain?

Finally, there is the expansion issue. In Washington State, we have had informal "trial balloon" proposals to expand our law to non-terminal people. For me, the most disturbing one was in the Seattle Times, which is our largest paper. A column suggested euthanasia as a solution for people without funds in their old age, which could be any of us, say if the company pension plan went broke.**

Assemblyman Hernandez is right to be concerned about what could happen to his constituents if SB 128 is passed.

Don't let California make Washington and Oregon's mistake.  Urge your legislators to vote "NO" on SB 128.

* Margaret Dore is a former Law Clerk to the Washington State Supreme Court and the Washington State Court of Appeals.  She is a former Chair of the Elder Law Section of the ABA Family Law Committee.  She also worked for a year with the United States Department of Justice.  She is president of Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation opposed to assisted suicide and euthanasia.  To learn more, see and

**  Jerry Large, "Planning for old age at a premium," The Seattle Times, March 8, 2012 ("After Monday's column, . . . a few [readers] suggested that if you couldn't save enough money to see you through your old age, you shouldn't expect society to bail you out. At least a couple mentioned euthanasia as a solution.") (Emphasis added).

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

SB 128 Defeated!

SB 128 Defeated!

The bill did not have the votes to go forward in Committee, and is reportedly dead for the year.

Special thanks to Nina Rhea, Mike Hodas and everyone else who went the extra mile to defeat the bill.


Margaret Dore

Monday, June 22, 2015

SB 128 Questions & Answers

For more detailed information
click on these links to see a
 memo and attachments by
attorney Margaret Dore.
See also this press release.

1.  What does SB 128 do?

SB 128 seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.

2.  What is physician-assisted suicide?

In the context of SB 128, a doctor writes a prescription for a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of a patient's suicide. Other people, such as family members, are allowed to assist the suicide, for example, by: suggesting suicide to dad; picking up the lethal dose at the pharmacy; and handing the lethal dose to dad for the purpose of his committing suicide.  

3.  What is euthanasia?

Euthanasia is the direct administration of a lethal dose by someone else to cause another person's death.

4.  How does SB 128 create the perfect crime?

Older people with money are already at risk of abuse and even death at the hands of their family members and other predators wanting an inheritance, life insurance, etc.  With SB 128, there is the creation of the perfect crime:

  • The death is allowed to occur in private, without witnesses.  Even if the person struggled, who would know?
  • After the person dies, the death certificate is REQUIRED to reflect a natural death.*
  • Death benefits under a will or due to life insurance are required to be paid out as if the person had died of a terminal disease.*

5.  Why is it true that people eligible for assisted suicide/euthanasia may have years, even decades, to live? 

SB 128 applies to people with a “terminal disease,” which is defined in terms of a doctor’s determination of less than six months to live. In real life, such persons can have years, even decades to live.  This true for many reasons, including:

  • The six months to live determination is made without treatment.  People with chronic conditions, such as insulin dependent diabetes, are “terminal” for the purpose of assisted suicide because they are dependent on insulin to live:  Without insulin, they will with reasonable medical certainty die in less that six months.
  • Predicting life expectancy is not an exact science so that doctors are sometimes wrong, and sometimes way wrong.
  • Treatment can lead to recovery.

*  Recent amendments to SB 128 did not eliminate the requirement that the death certificate be falsified to reflect a terminal disease.  Rather they moved the requirement to the fine print.  See memo, pp 6-8.  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

California Assembly Health Committee: Vote NO on SB 128

I am an attorney from Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.  Enclosed please find a memo and attachments in opposition to SB 128.  Points include:
  • SB 128 will legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia for young adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes.
  • There is a complete lack of oversight when the lethal dose is administered (even if the patient struggled, who would know?)
  • The bill requires falsification of the death certificate, which will prevent legal recourse and justice to patients and their families harmed by the bill.
If SB 128 becomes law, people with years, even decades to live, will be encouraged to throw away their lives; patients and their families will be traumatized. 

SB 128, as written, will allow the perfect crime.  Even if you like the concept of assisted suicide and euthanasia, SB 128 is the wrong bill.

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Law Offices of Margaret K. Dore, PS
Choice is an Illusion, a nonprofit corporation
1001 4th Avenue,  Suite 4400
Seattle, WA  98154

206 389 1754

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sign Our Petition!

Sign our petition against SB 128:

1.  Click this link to print a petition.

2.  Print the petition from the link above, sign it, get your friends and neighbors to sign it, and fax the completed petition to 206 389 1530.

3.  For any questions, contact:


Choice is an Illusion

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Medical killing is already occurring in California and elsewhere, which is causing much suffering and tearing families apart"

Dear Senators,
I am writing to urge you to vote "NO" on SB 128, which seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia.
Medical killing is already occurring in California and elsewhere, which is causing much suffering and tearing families apart. 
California cases are documented at this website link to the Kaiser papers:
Another case in point is my mother who died a horrible death by medically supervised dehydration.  See here.
Meanwhile, attorney Margaret Dore reports on two cases in her recent press release involving legal assisted suicide, in which both patients and their families were traumatized: the second case implies an actual murder.  See here.
It's time to stop the madness. Please send a strong statement by voting NO.
What happens in California will likely affect the rest of the world. I urge you to please vote against SB 128.
Thank you,
Kate Kelly, B.A., B.Ed.
Northwest Territories, Canada

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dr. Bill Toffler: "I hope that California does not repeat Oregon’s mistake."

Dear Senator,

I have been a professor of family medicine and a practicing physician in Oregon for more than 30 years. I write to provide some insight on the issue of assisted suicide, which is legal in Oregon, and which has been proposed for legalization in California (SB 128, which seeks to pass an Oregon-style assisted suicide bill).

Oregon’s law applies to “terminal” patients who are predicted to have less than six months to live.  In practice, this idea of “terminal” has recently become stretched to include people with chronic conditions, such as “chronic lower respiratory disease” and “diabetes”.  Persons with these conditions are considered terminal if they are dependent on their medications, such as insulin, to live.  They are unlikely die in less than six months unless they don’t receive their medications.  Such persons, with treatment, could otherwise have years or even decades to live.

This illustrates a great problem with our law — it encourages people with years to live, to throw away their lives.