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California to Consider Legalization of Doctor-Assisted Death

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Aired 4/19/09

California lawmakers will soon consider a measure that would legalize doctor-assisted death for the terminally ill. Supporters say a new report from Oregon reveals an aid-in-dying law is working smoothly. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

Oregon's aid-in-dying law took effect nine years ago. The latest report shows last year, some 31,000 Oregonians were diagnosed with a terminal illness. Of that number, 46 took a lethal dose of medication under their doctor's care. Oregon internist Keith Graham says it's a good law.

Graham : Each time I've had an experience with this law, it's shown that it's worked well and that the procedures have worked well. It's certainly the way I would want to go if I were faced with a terminal illness, and a lingering death.

But critics in California argue an aid-in-dying law here would lead to a slippery slope. California lawmakers have rejected such a measure the last two years in a row.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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