Following up on Brian’s earlier post, which focused on Assemblywoman Patty Berg’s framing of AB374: The Compassionate Choices Act, I wanted to go directly to the source, a piece that Berg herself wrote for CPR.
In it she describes the disturbing triangulation the right is engaging in to try to defeat the bill. Republicans know they can’t win if Berg sets the terms of the debate, i.e. if Berg’s frame that allowing a terminal patient to end ones own life as he or she chooses IS a matter of choice wins the message war and it becomes pro-choice forces vs. anti-choice. The bill would pass. So they’ve marginalized the right-to-lifers and instead attacked Democrats where they’re vulnerable.
If you think California should be immune to the anti-choice message, you’d be right. But that’s what makes this play so unnerving. Anti-choice organizers are keeping the zealots in the closet, and cloaking themselves as protectors of the underclass. In short, they’re using liberal ideology against the liberals.
UPDATE: from da in the comments, use this great Speak Out! tool to send an e-mail to your Assemblymember in support of AB374.
While Berg doesn’t explain exactly how they’re doing it, the bill’s opponents are essentially making the case that AB374 would hurt the poor.
They’re trying to get good solid Dems to ignore the strong support of the ACLU, MALDEF, NOW, AFSCME, one of the state’s largest physician organizations, and every major Senior Citizen group in the California. Heck, the Speaker of the Assembly is one of the authors of the bill – when was the last time he did anything to hurt the poor?
The rightwing anti-AB374 campaign is joining forces with the Catholic church to target “fence-sitting” Democrats to convince them that their support for this bill would result in political catastrophe for them.
You kiddin’ me?
Never mind that statewide polling consistently shows that 70 percent of California voters support choice at the end of life. Never mind that support among Democrats is closer to 80 percent. Never mind that the Democratic Caucus’ most trusted private pollster says there is no way anyone could be hurt by this vote – the anti-choice campaign is nonetheless gaining traction.
Berg calls on us to urge all of our Assemblymembers not to fall for these tricks and to stand up for the will of the people of California and for the rights of the terminally ill to end their lives on their terms, with dignity. As Berg has said, it’s not suicide if life isn’t one of the options.
I’d really like to hear Assemblyman Levine’s take on this as both one of the bill’s authors and a calitics diarist. I know it’s a busy week but if he could give us a real time status report and further context, it would be much appreciated.