LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Opponents of the recently signed “Aid-in-Dying” law received permission to begin gathering signatures to qualify a referendum to overturn it, Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced.
Stephanie Packer, who described herself as a “wife, mother and patient suffering from scleroderma,” wrote in a letter to the Attorney General’s Office submitting her name as a proponent of the referendum effort, that “when confronting the reality of a terminal diagnosis, it is understandable why many look to suicide.
“It is wrong for our collective response to the depression and emotional pain that follows a terminal diagnosis to offer suicide as the treatment,” Packer wrote.
“Those confronting their most difficult days should be treated with compassion, understanding and support. Our medical response should not be to encourage them to end their lives prematurely.”
Packer described scleroderma as “a chronic and terminal connective tissue disease.”
Valid signatures from 365,880 registered voters — 5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the 2014 general election — must be submitted by Jan. 4 to qualify the measure for the November 2016 ballot, Padilla said.
If the attempt to overturn ABX2-15 qualifies for the ballot, its provisions would be suspended.
The bill, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 5, allows a terminally ill, mentally competent adult to obtain a prescription for a life- ending drug, providing two doctors confirm the diagnosis and prognosis and other safeguards are met.
In his signing statement the 77-year-old Brown wrote, “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”