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California lawmakers narrowly rejected a bill on Tuesday that would have allowed the terminally ill to enlist doctors to help them commit suicide.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 to block the measure. Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Dunn, a Democrat from Santa Ana, California, cast the deciding vote, siding with two Republicans.

Dunn said he could not trust that future lawmakers would refrain from expanding the bill to allow persons not suffering from terminal illnesses to hasten their deaths.

The bill mirrored an Oregon law allowing doctors to prescribe a lethal prescription to terminally ill patients.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested earlier this year he would not sign such a bill because the issue of physician-assisted suicide is of such importance it should be left to voters.

Derek Humphry
comments: This action by Dunn means those suffering today must continue to do so because of the POSSIBLE actions of future legislators. An appalling way to look at things.

Secondly, it is all very well for Schwarzenegger to suggest a voters’ referendum, but they require a couple of million dollars in cash to mount in a huge state like California. Will he provide it? Not likely!

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