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We should think twice about 'death with dignity'

Physician-assisted suicide is back on California's political agenda. Indeed, anyone who read the newspaper or watched TV coverage when the End of Life Option Act (SB 128) was introduced Jan. 21 might think it's a done deal, though the bill hasn't even cleared committee. The message from supporters and the media is clear: Like women's rights, voting rights, gay marriage and hikes to the minimum wage, it's only a matter of time before physician-assisted suicide becomes legal because, after all, it is the right thing to do. If this bill fails, supporters promise a ballot initiative in 2016.

As someone who supports all those other liberal causes, yet opposes physician-assisted suicide, I'd ask my fellow progressives to shine a cold hard light on this issue. We have been the target of a decades-long branding campaign that paints hastening death as an extension of personal freedoms. We should bring the same skepticism to physician-assisted suicide that we do to fracking and genetically modified food.

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