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Difficult to Define Whose Suffering is Worthy of Death

Wesley J. Smith

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Right-to-die bill can't preclude expansion to other ill people.

Here we go again. For the fourth time in eight years, a bill is moving through the California Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

If history is any guide, assisted-suicide proponents and the media will cast the debate in strictly religious terms -- as the Catholic Church versus rational modernists. But the coalition opposing AB374 is a broad and diverse political alliance that vividly reflects California's unique multiculturalism.

Leading the charge against the latest assisted-suicide bill ) are disability rights advocates -- the nation's most effective anti-euthanasia campaigners -- who are overwhelmingly secular in perspective, liberal in politics and pro-choice on abortion. They will be working closely with civil rights activists. (The League of United Latin American Citizens, the country's largest Latino civil rights organization, is on record as firmly opposing assisted suicide.)

These groups will be joined by medical, nursing and hospice professionals -- with organizations such as the California Medical Association and the American Medical Association adamantly opposed to transforming assisted suicide into a medical treatment.

Add advocates for the poor, such as Oakland's Coalition of Concerned Medical Professionals, mix in religious conservatives, and it becomes clear that assisted-suicide opponents have forged a potent, strange political bedfellow alliance that bridges the usual liberal versus conservative, secular versus religious, and pro-choice versus anti-abortion disputes that divide the country.

Read the entire article on the San Francisco Chronicle website (new window will open).

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