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Assisted Suicide Supporters Push Bill Again

Supporters of the concept of doctor-assisted suicide say they'll try again this year to get the California legislature to pass a measure that would authorize the practice. The effort failed in 2005, due in part to heavy opposition by the Catholic Church. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The measure would allow people who are given less than six months to live to request a lethal dose of drugs from a physician. Patients would have to make the request three separate times, and be declared mentally competent.

Will Shuck is a spokesman for Assemblywoman Patty Berg, who co-wrote the bill. He expects the Catholic Church to lobby hard against it, but says not everyone shares their views.

Shuck: "And in fact, a lot of Catholics support this idea. So we just have to get to the point that religious doctrine does not make public policy in California."

Oregon is the only state that allows doctor-assisted suicide. The Bush Administration has challenged the law in the U.S. Supreme Court. A ruling is pending. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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