The End of Life Act cleared the Assembly Finance Committee on Friday and is expected to go before the full Assembly on Tuesday.
The most prominent advocate – and the lead plaintiff in a related lawsuit – is Christy O’Donnell, a civil rights attorney and former LAPD sergeant who lives in Valencia and suffers from brain, liver, lung, rib and spine cancer. She’s morphine intolerant and is going to die painfully from her illness.
She wants to be able to have a physician help her commit suicide – painlessly and legally.
O’Donnell came to the KHTS AM-1220 station Thursday to speak about the bill.
AB2x15 would allow mentally-capable, terminally-ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying drugs to painlessly and peacefully hasten their death, according to a news release.
Sen. Sharon Runner, who represents O’Donnell’s in the state Senate, is against it.
“This bill strikes a very personal chord for me, as I was terminally ill just a few years ago,” said Runner, R-Lancaster. “I would not be here today without my lung transplant. It was a long and difficult process, and I struggled through many painful days.
“But, look at the life I have now,” Runner said. “I believe life is sacred. It begins at conception and ends when it is meant to end. We should not force the issue.”
The bill passed out of the special session health committee on a vote of 10-3 Tuesday. It also passed the Assembly Finance Committee 5-3.
“The pain is pretty significant now (compared) to when I was in here, what a month ago,” O’Donnell said. “I take a lot of percocet. I take a lot of it and it barely takes the edge off the pain. I’m really at the end of my treatment.”
O’Donnell is just one of hundred of terminally ill patients in the Santa Clarita Valley, she says. She belongs to a stage IV cancer support group with many of them.
“If you believe in this at all, even if it’s not a choice for yourself, if you believe other people should have a choice, you have to act now because what’s happening is that the governor called an exigent emergency session that they’re trying to pass the bill through on. So, we literally have a few days,” O’Donnell said. There’s a judiciary committee vote, a finance committee vote and then this bill goes to the entire Assembly and we’re so close.”